Sunday, July 06, 2003

Pharmaceutical Nation

Maureen Dowd's column today ends poorly, but she's right to sneer at new T.V. ads asking the viewer to assess his level of concentration and introducing a supposed malady called AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder). Drug companies are now in the business of creating maladies for the purpose of fattening their bottom lines.

Here is Dowd at her best:

The ad said I might have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. I did have a friend who got a diagnosis of A.A.D.D. His wife had complained he wasn't paying enough attention to her and sent him to a doctor, who prescribed Ritalin for spousal attention deficit disorder. My friend lost weight, became more focused on his work and left his complaining wife.

The law of unintended side effects.


Medical science coming under fire as much as science simply in postmodernism, Michel Foucault argued dogmatically that disease is socially constructed. In a rather bizarre way, however, it looks like the big pharmaceutical companies are beginning to prove him right.

Here is Eli Lilly's online questionaire regarding AADD. I love the last question regarding restlessness while waiting to take your turn for something. The scientist who devised this apparently never tried to merge with an automobile onto a major thoroughfare in New York City or waited on line for something in France.

I doubt even Andrew Sullivan can defend the big pharmaceuticals over this.


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