lunedì 8 giugno 2009

Speculating on Fear: the Disease Mongering

European Elections are over and Europe, after a brief moment of timid and wan limelight, falls rapidly and sadly again into a general oblivion of the italian political interest and debate.

Nonetheless, there is something we soon should ask to the new European Parliament: to protect European citizens against big companies' and multinationals' pressures. These big companies operates in all sectors (energy, agriculture, food, chemicals, etc.) but in one sector these companies are particularly aggressive: Big Pharma or Pharmaceutical Industry.

The main lever adopted to make business when talking about health is fear and feeling of risk often resulting by an information asymmetry: in brief people know very little and thus they are vulnerable to the quantity and quality of information provided.

One of the main expression of this mechanism is the "Disease Mongering" based on fear and anxiety induction amplifying simple troubles transforming them into serious disorders or diseases, inventing inexistent diseases or creating no-use prevention campaigns. The process is concluded by the definition of specific medical and pharmaceutical treatments (with the related business).

This topic has been the focus of a meeting "Giornata Internazionale della Ricerca Clinica (International Meeting on Clinic Reserach)" held in Milan last may 20th organized by the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri (Institute of Pharmaceutical Research). During the meeting new tools to help patients to have correct and adequate information about health campaigns have been presented which have been included in the activities of "Partecipasalute" (Health Participation).

More info about Disease Mongering can be found here

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