You bet Big Pharma is the biggest disease monger to come along since the FDA. And you can believe that there is a plot behind banning supplements to improve and maintain your health.
My therapy for restless leg (RLS as the pharma-media calls it) is based in magnesium but I add another nutrient or two, because for this situation the sum of the combination shows better benefit, and usually sooner, than magnesium alone.
This same approach applies to my proven herbal and nutritional formulas for FMS. The test ran to show just how effective this approach is was followed by a courageous MD, over ten years ago. The outcome was removal of the diagnosis and recovery, do people did get their lives back.
The newer TV and print ad tells you you need the damaging side effects of Lyrica for "your fibromyalgia". To me, this ad is about as demeaning to women (and men) with FMS as was the Novartis ad for their now removed from the market drug to go with the drummed up condition called IBS.
Simple dietary and supplement additions resolve IBS in case you are not familiar with more natural and more effective approaches to health.
Disease Mongering for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
A perfect textbook example of disease mongering by the pharmaceutical industry is the case of Requip for Restless Leg Syndrome.
What is Requip and Mirapex?
Requip is a powerful drug for Parkinson’s Disease, and is also used to treat movement disorders caused by anti-psychotic drugs for mental patients (such as Prolixin and Haldol). Mirapex is similar to Requip.
Adverse side effects of Requip includes compulsive gambling and hypersexual behavior.
Image at upper left courtesy of Bill Sardi KnowledgeofHealth Blog.
Two Thirds of Americans Are Magnesium Deficient
Sixty Eight Per Cent (68%) of Americans are Magnesium deficient, according to the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Restless Legs, or leg muscle cramping during sleep is not a reason for a powerful Parkinson's drug. Inexpensive magnesium supplementation usually resolves the problem. Using a drug like Requip instead of supplementing for magnesium deficiency is the height of lunacy, and would be comical if it wasn't tragic. This is typical drug mongering indicative of a broken medical system.
Magnesium Deficiency, Not Requip Deficiency
In a medical study, people with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) had significant improvement after supplementing with magnesium (about 300 mg each evening for four to six weeks). (Hornyack) Another study showed IV Magnesium curative for Restless Leg Syndrome, when IV magnesium was incidentally given to pregnant women as a treatment for eclampsia. (Popoviciu) We have found in our experience that oral magnesium supplementation works quite well, resolving the problem promptly in most cases.
What is Disease Mongering?
Step One: Create an Illusory Disease called a "syndrome"
Disease mongering describes a marketing program that creates the illusion of disease where in fact, there is none. Instead, there may be a symptom or a "risk factor" for development of disease.
We saw disease mongering in a previous report on Bisphosphonate drugs (Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva), with Sally Field as television spokeswomen. These Sally Field ads create the fear of a real disease called osteoporosis in millions of women who have a lesser diagnosis called osteopenia. Fracture rates actually increase in this Osteopenia group when they take bisphosphonates.
A true disease requires definite pathologic markers that clearly differentiate normal from abnormal. An example of a real disease is heart disease in which arteries are blocked, cancer in which abnormal cells can be seen on biopsy, and hypothyroidism in which there are typical symptoms of fatigue, weakness, puffy face, dry skin, cold body temperature and abnormal lab values.
Step Two: Market the new illusory disease with a phoney Grassroots Organization
To popularize the new illusory disease condition, a pretend grassroots organization is created such as the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation, a phoney organization sponsored with money from the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Boehringer Ingelheim, makers of the RLS drugs. This is a pure marketing ploy.
Step Three: Create A Phoney Marketing Gimmick called "Awareness Week"
In order to make the "worried well" fear they have the new syndrome and need the drug, RLS Awareness Week was invented, and supports groups set up to offer a symptom check list so the masses could self-diagnose themselves as victims and ‘sufferers’ of the illusory disease.
Step Four: Direct to Consumer Advertising
DTC Television ads imply that your doctor missed your symptoms and failed to diagnose your new syndrome called "Restless Leg". The ads are not required to be truthful and instead convey misleading, false or incomplete information. (see videos below). Thirty Nine Special Interest Groups have asked Congress to ban DTC drug advertising.
Where are the Responsible Prescribing Physicians?
Dr. Moira Dolan says:
"The Restless Legs Syndrome campaign includes all of the essential ingredients for successful disease mongering. Annual Mirapex (Boehringer) sales are over $324 million and Glaxo’s Requip makes over $500 million a year. The astounding transparency of the whole-cloth invention of RLS for the sales of the corresponding drugs reflects poorly on the prescribing physician. It represents a gross abdication of the responsibility of doctors to act as advocates and at least sentient information managers for their patients."
How to Make Money in the Drug Industry
Identify a nutritional deficiency in the population (such as magnesium deficiency), create a new syndrome caused by the nutritional deficiency (such as Restless Leg), and then start a disease mongering campaign to convince the masses to take an expensive, dangerous, powerful drug (Requip and Mirapex) instead of an inexpensive mineral such as magnesium, or a vitamin that actually solves the problem. This template can be copied and repeated many times over, and it is.
Jeffrey Dach MD