The fact that our family doctors now write three times more prescriptions for antidepressants than thirty years ago is mainly due to the very clever marketing of drug companies.

This is the view of James Le Fanu, who writes the Doctor’s Diary column for the Daily Telegraph.

Le Fanu reveals that it’s all done by Big Pharma re-defining a psychological trait as a quasi-psychiatric illness – such as shyness as “social phobia” – and then persuading prominent doctors (“key opinion leaders”) that it can be treated with pills. Also important has been the steady lowering of perceived norms of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, so that an increasing number of people are considered “at risk” and candidates for more profitable pill-popping.

These brilliant strategies, coupled with a compliant and sometimes incentivised medical profession, have resulted in sales of tablets to treat the new improved brands of manufactured disorder increasing from £250 billion to £500 billion a year.

Now that’s marketing, and a lot of snake oil…

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