marketing obesity for drugs

Health Impact News Editor

The modern pharmaceutical industry is a marketing marvel, unmatched by any other business sector today. Cloaked in the auspices of “science,” and in many cases (such as vaccines) protected from litigation legally from any harm their products may cause, pharmaceutical companies employ the best marketing strategies to increase their products and market share. Because of their legal status and protection by the government, unlike any other products in the market place today, they are able to market products even if they are not effective, or in many cases even harmful.

No other sector in the U.S. economy enjoys that privilege. The largest payouts in criminal convictions over the past several years have been fines against pharmaceutical companies (billions of dollars), but it just gets factored into their cost of doing business as no action is taken to restrict their activity in the market. They continue to profit greatly from their defective and ineffective products, and the government also profits from the payouts made in criminal settlements. Both sides profit, while consumers suffer.

So what is the new big market targeted by the pharmaceutical industry? Obesity. Why obesity? Because the percentage of the population that can now be diagnosed as “obese” has increased so significantly, huge profits are now sought after what traditionally have been assigned to foods and dietary supplements. Now, it is time for Big Pharma to get into the game, and they are doing so in a BIG way!

In case you missed it, in June of this year, the American Medical Association paved the way for this grandiose marketing campaign by declaring that obesity was now a “disease.” With no scientific basis whatsoever, the AMA voted to classify obesity as a disease, paving the way for new lucrative medicines and vaccines. (Story here.)

Anyone reading the mainstream news these past few weeks could not help but notice the number of stories making headlines announcing dire obesity statistics that would lead one to believe it is the number 1 national epidemic facing us today, such as this one:

Heavy burden: Obesity may be even deadlier than thoughtQuote: “Obesity kills far more Americans than we think it does, according to a controversial new study that suggests obesity accounts of about 18 percent of all deaths in the United States – three times previous estimates.

Hmmm…. “controversial”, “suggests”, “estimates”?? Yet what was basically speculation and spin was broadcast as headline news fact by the mainstream media pundits.

Not even a recent report stating that obesity rates had finally leveled off after years of increase could stop the pharma-driven marketing machine’s rush into this new market. So, instead of reporting this as positive news, which would be bad for sales of future obesity drugs and vaccines, here’s how they spun the news on that report with headlines this week:

Report: Obesity Rates Still Too High – Quote: “Though a new report shows adult obesity rates leveling off after three decades of increases, local medical experts maintain the problem will continue to ‘put an enormous burden on our health care system.‘”

Ah yes, the testimony of “medical experts” – one of their best marketing tools in using appeal to authority instead of science.

So, did I say future “obesity vaccines”? Oh yes, I am not making this up. Your tax dollars have already funded quite a bit of research on these obesity vaccines that have been tested on mice and deemed to be “effective.”

In June this year, just after the AMA announcement that obesity was now officially a disease, this story broke:

Lose weight with a shot? NC hospital develops ‘Obesity Vaccine’Quote: “Is it possible to lose weight with a simple shot? A new way to shed pounds is being tested out in Winston-Salem, N.C., and it requires little to no exercise.

Click on the link and watch the video. You can’t make this stuff up!! The vaccine supposedly works by affecting your hormones. No mention is made of what the side effects could be, and one “doctor” in the video states the vaccines could end obesity in America. So according to “medical experts” wearing white coats with stethoscopes draped around their necks, vaccines will cure obesity with no need to exercise or watch what you eat. Brilliant marketing! And people will fall for this….

This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article, which was widely reported in the mainstream media, stating that dieting had no effect on obesity: A Call for an End to the Diet Debates  

That’s right, the pharmaceutical industry wants to do away with the one industry that stands between them and huge profits to made off of obesity: dieting. Dieting is, of course, a huge competing industry to drugs in fighting weight loss, so is it any surprise that they just simply announced that diets should be done away with? The pharmaceutical industry wants you to believe that diets do not work, and that food has nothing to do with the obesity epidemic.

Even though JAMA is supposedly a peer-reviewed publication, this was NOT a scientific study, but simply a commentary by someone articulate and with impressive sounding credentials: Sherry L. Pagoto, PhD. She is apparently an educator in a medical school, training future doctors. Here is what she had to say:

So, according to this pharmaceutical sales rep, er, I mean professor, all the scientific literature proves that dieting doesn’t work. Her solution? Stop talking about what people should be eating, and start talking about how to change people’s behavior.

I don’t know about you, but when I heard that, it sent chills up my spine. Do we really need medical professionals defining what is correct behavior in terms of obesity? Could laws be passed defining “correct” behavior all in the name of the “greater public good” in fighting this newly created disease that is getting so many headlines in the mainstream media now? If the public resists buying the new pharmaceutical products for obesity voluntarily, don’t be surprised to see things such as mandatory vaccines and drugs as requirements in some situations, possibly even backed up by laws.

The whole field of psychiatry took a huge hit in credibility earlier this year with the publication of their new DSM5, which created so many new “diseases” that virtually anyone in the population could be diagnosed with a mental disorder (See: Everyone Opposed to Creation of New Psychiatric Disorders Except Those Who Stand to Profit from Them). Even many in the mainstream media began to question the legitimacy of the whole field of psychiatry, which simply votes on diseases to include in their diagnostic manuals (there are no biological tests to diagnose “mental disease”) so that they can sell lucrative anti-psychotic drugs. Could this Sherry Pagoto be one of the cogs in the pharmaceutical marketing machine trying to lay the groundwork for a new class of anti-psychotic drugs in the field of psychiatry designed to “modify behavior” to “cure” obesity?

What Sherry Pagoto says about food of course is completely false. There are very many good scientific studies that show our food is related to the obesity epidemic. The problem with much of that research, a lot of which is based on the ketogenic diet, which was originally designed at John Hopkins Hospital back in the 1920s as a cure for childhood epilepsy, is that the kind of foods that are clearly linked to weight loss are the opposite of the kinds of foods that are subsidized by the U.S. government and promoted in USDA dietary guidelines. If you follow the USDA dietary guidelines which encourage a high carbohydrate and low fat diet, the science is pretty clear that not only could obesity be a result of such a diet, but so could a whole host of real diseases.

But then again, those real diseases are good for business when you are marketing pharmaceutical products and services that are marketed to treat such things.


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