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Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All into Patients

As everyday life becomes increasingly medicalized - ordinary ups and downs becoming mental disorders, common complaints transformed into serious medical conditions--the pharmaceutical industry moves ever closer to the dream of Henry Gadsen, the head of the giant drug company Merck who once told Fortune magazine that he wanted Merck to become more like chewing gum maker Wrigley's: if Merck could make drugs for healthy people, it could "sell to everyone." Selling to everyone by exploiting our deepest fears of death, decay and disease is now what drives the marketing machinery of the most profitable industry on earth.

Runny noses are now allergic rhinitis, PMS has become a psychiatric disorder and hyperactive children have ADD, while being "at risk" for conditions like high cholesterol or low-bone density is sold as a disease in itself. Selling Sickness reveals how more and more ordinary people are turned into patients through the marketing strategies of the world's largest drug companies, which are aggressively targeting the healthy.

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The Pharmaceutical "Business with Disease"

There is an entire industry with an innate economic interest to obstruct, suppress and discredit any information about the eradication of diseases. The pharmaceutical industry makes over one trillion dollars from selling drugs for ongoing diseases. These drugs may relieve symptoms, but they do not cure. We have to realize that the mission of this industry is to make money from ongoing diseases. The cure or eradication of a disease leads to the collapse of a multi-billion dollar market of pharmaceuticals.

The fact that vitamin C stabilizes the walls of arteries, for example, has been known for 200 years, ever since James Lind uncovered vitamin C deficiency as the cause of blood loss and scurvy. Any head of a pharmaceutical company, any Ph.D. or M.D. who denies knowing this fact is simply incredulous. Why, then, was this information not applied to medicine in order to combat cardiovascular disease? Why was the official RDA for vitamin C set at 60 mg, an amount barely sufficient to prevent scurvy but certainly low enough to make sure that cardiovascular diseases will become an epidemic? The following page gives the answer.

Throughout this century, the pharmaceutical companies knew that an optimum vitamin supply of the population would lead to the collapse of a multi-billion dollar market of prescription drugs. Moreover, vitamins are not patentable and the profit margins are low.

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