Disease mongering?

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A while back, Medical Meetings posed what I think is an interesting question: Are CME providers being used by the pharmaceutical industry to legitimize a treatment for conditions that aren't really diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome?

At the time, most providers didn t seem to think so, but it may be time to revisit the issue, now that the Royal College of General Practitioners in the U.K. is bringing up the issue again. It seems they are "worried that "the practice of disease-mongering within the pharmaceutical industry could put publicly funded health care systems at risk." Further, it says, "the RCGP argues that pharmaceutical companies classification of conditions such as hypertension and depression as abnormal are not in the interests of patients and serve only to reward the industry itself."

Do you agree with the provider who said, "I think that& disease state CME [is] only helping the health care delivery system"? He cites erectile dysfunction as an example. "By diagnosing ED, we are& intervening earlier in the diagnosis and treatment of peripheral vascular disease," he says. "There are 20 examples like this for every one that may seem specious."

Or do you fall more into the camp of this provider: "While I have no direct experience in this particular initiative, I would look into the disease of overactive bladder. Its appearance seems coincidental with the introduction of various products to treat it"?

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