Overactive marketing for overactive bladder


A classic example of disease mongering. That's what blogger John Mack writes on his Pharma Marketing blog - about a slide presentation he found from a drug company exec pushing the drug, Detrol, for overactive bladder.

Mack writes:

"I remembered being present at the 2002 meeting and how shocked I was that a pharmaceutical VP would actually be so transparent in discussing how "overactive bladder" was a "new" disease that he and his company created specifically to increase the sales of Detrol!"

In her book, "Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs," Melody Petersen wrote that too many journalists fall too easily into drug company plans to create a market for a drug – citing the coverage of Detrol. “Dozens of journalists at newspapers and television stations across the country wrote stories about the disorder said to be destroying the lives of millions of Americans,” she writes. “Editors and television news directors loved these reports. Silly stories of people running to the toilet brightened the day’s news.”


I agree there is much "over-done-ness" of many pharmaceutical advertisements, pushing everyone possible to see a need for the product being advertised.

However, I also see the reality of bladder dysfunction in diseases like the one I have, MS.

I tried Detrol LA for a while (didn't really do the job for me) and am now taking Vesicare (also over-advertised, I'd say), and that IS working better for me.

I don't know about standard 'over-active bladder' but I DO know about urinary incontinence due to disease or other syndrome. I live it.


Thanks for your note.

It seems like whenever I write about disease-mongering, someone miscontrues the message and reacts as though I were downplaying the true problems of those who truly have the condition in question.

Disease-mongering is an attempt by a drug company to expand its market by making EVERYONE think they have a problem that needs treatment. Clearly, my need to pee after 6 cups of coffee is not a treatable condition as yours is.

Current ads claim that overactive bladder affects 1 in 6 Americans. That is disease-mongering.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on April 6, 2009 7:50 AM.

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