Came across this decent article in the Guardian on the new trends in American medicine:
- Something strange is happening in American medicine. No longer is it being used merely to cure illness. Medicine is now being used in the pursuit of happiness. In America, we take Viagra at bedtime and Ritalin before work. We inject Botox into ourwrinkled brows and rub Rogaine on our balding heads. We swallow Paxil for shyness, Prozac for grief, and Buspar for anxiety. For stage fright we use beta blockers; for excessive blushing and sweating, we get endoscopic surgery. We ask surgeons to trim down our noses, suck fat from our thighs, transform us from men to women, even amputate our healthy arms and legs in the pursuit of what some people believe to be their true selves. Twenty years ago, most doctors said no. Now many have changed their minds. [...]
In the 1999-2000 election cycle, the drug industry spent more money on political lobbying than any other industry, more than the oil and gas industry, more than tobacco, more than the insurance or automobile industry. The drug industry has also ratcheted up its spending on doctors. The number of drug representatives employed to make promotional pitches directly to doctors rose by 57% in the 1990s to a total of 88,000 by the end of the decade. Perhaps most remarkably, the drug industry now funds 40% of continuing medical education in American medical schools.
Because "enhancement technologies" are usually medical interventions, they must be prescribed or performed by a doctor, not as "enhancements", but as "treatments" for psychological or physical suffering. As drug industry profits have increased, so have the number of new medical disorders, from social anxiety disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder to erectile dysfunction and irritable bowel syndrome. The industry sells drugs by selling the illnesses they treat.