Condition Branding: An Unethical Marketing Practice

Condition branding is a dangerous and deceptive practice that many pharmaceutical companies are using as a tactic to sell their drugs. The practice of condition branding can loosely be described as inventing a disease after a drug has already been created. This is not only an unnecessary process, but it turns natural parts of life that people have had to live with throughout history into scientific diseases that can only be cured through the use of prescription drugs.

Two ways that pharmaceutical companies effectively use condition branding is by creating disease and renaming symptoms that have been around for years, making it more socially acceptable to have. There are two reasons that condition branding should not be allowed the obvious being that it leads to wasteful spending by the general public.

The other is because it allows for hypochondriacs to feel as though they need to take a particular drug to fix a disease that in reality is not having a tremendous impact on their life and could lead to more harmful side effects than the minor conditions they are experiencing.

The first component of condition branding is creating a “new” disease and then coming up with a drug or treatment for it. This can be seen in illnesses such as Seasonal Affective Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. With each condition created came effectively, a whole segment of the market to pursue with nonsense diseases solely to prey on their money and vulnerability.

For example, the treatments for Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as shyness ranges from benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium to Serotonin Inhibitors such as Paxil, Prozac, or Lexapro. All these pills would be taken simply for the patient to relieve shyness, a very reasonable part of life that everyone has had to deal with in some form or another since the beginning of time. The average one-month supply of a pill such as Xanax will cost the patient around 100 dollars if not more, this also varies based on health insurance policies as well.

This is not only a very pricy way to cure shyness; however, the side effects that one could experience after taking Xanax is not worth it to fix a simple case of shyness.  Some of these side effects are chest pain, blurred vision, insomnia, jaundice, seizure, confusion, thoughts of suicide, or no fear of danger.

These side effects just aren’t worth the risk to take a drug only for someone who is slightly less outgoing than the average person. This is just one example that shows pharmaceutical companies taking clear advantage over the uneducated customer who is willing to pay anything to fix diseases that were simply created to make money for the company.

The second way condition branding can be carried out is by creating a new name for a disease that allows it to feel more socially acceptable. This can clearly be seen in the creation of the disorders of overactive bladder and erectile dysfunction or ED. These conditions were formerly uncomfortable to talk with a doctor about so they would almost never get brought up or treated. For example, when someone used to regularly and uncontrollably soil their pants, they were too embarrassed to talk about it with their doctor.

However, by creating overactive bladder, pharmaceutical companies allowed people to think it was not their fault, and it was simply, “ A supercharged organ frantically working overtime,”. Also stated in this article was a fact stating that the creation of overactive bladder has led to the creation of a market with 21 million new people. This leads to my point that condition branding can lead to very wasteful spending.

Of those 21 million people many of them probably have a bladder in perfect working condition however because of the commercials constantly seen on television they are forced to think about it every time that they head to the bathroom. Those people will then go to their doctor who will gladly prescribe them medication for a condition that was created so that pharmaceutical companies could flourish.

Not to mention the side effects that can be seen from a drug such as Detrol that treats overactive bladder can lead to chest pain, confusion, hallucination as well as lack of or painful urination. Erectile Dysfunction allows for the exact same thing to happen only this time involving an organ essential to procreation. Something that used to be attributed to the lack of libido is now a huge market for prescription drugs that are making pharmaceutical companies millions.

By creating this disease, it allowed men to believe that what once was considered to make them less of a man that it was a simple dysfunction in their body. However by exposing themselves to some drugs such as Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis the patients allow their bodies to be exposed to the risky side effects such as loss of vision, chest pain, loss of hearing, fainting, or even a prolonged erection.

Patients put their bodies at risk for some serious side effects just to cure a disease that was created as a money grab for pharmaceutical companies. Since drug companies have made these diseases more socially acceptable, it truly hurts consumers because instead of having a slightly embarrassing problem they put their bodies at great risk for unnecessary side effects and spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars yearly on medication for a created disease.

I think the real disease here is condition branding itself. It is a disease that is quickly spreading like wildfire through all types of drugs, conditions, and companies. It needs to be stopped for a variety of reasons such as wasteful spending and a vast number of side effects that could harm your body temporarily or permanently.

Essentially what I am trying to say is condition branding while great for business and advertising is a harmful practice that should be outlawed for the greater good of the public.

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