The lowdown on Low T (hint: disease-mongering)

Ads have led John Mack, of the Pharma Marketing Blog, to think that his chances are pretty good that he has ED and Low T. That’s erectile dysfunction and low testosterone for those of you not up on pharma’s alphabet soup of marketing.

Mack writes:

“Symptom quizzes designed by pharmaceutical marketers in cahoots with sponsored patient advocacy groups are dishonest, IMHO. I do not believe they represent “honest dialogues with the public” nor do I believe that they are in “the best interest of patient health,” two principles recently espoused by Bob Perkins, Vice President, Public Policy, AstraZeneca. In fact, they are just the opposite: dishonest and in the best interest of the pharmaceutical company!”

But he also links to a hilarious post on male hormone replacement on the blog, “Is Something Not Quite Right With Stan.” Excerpt:

“Big Pharma wants you to believe their aggressive promotion of ‘T’ disease is growing at epidemic proportions throughout America with millions upon millions of aging men being Low T ripe consumers for their much needed Testosterone-Gel treatment.”

Meantime a story by Reuters Health says that Low T ointment ads have been running during the NBA playoffs. I must have missed those while focusing on double dribbles and three seconds in the paint. But Reuters reports:

“According to a review in the June issue of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, testosterone replacement therapy is questionable because it has risks, its efficacy is uncertain, and there’s no strong agreement about whether low testosterone is really a disease in older age.

“We’re skeptical about this,” Dr. Ike Iheanacho, the journal’s editor, told Reuters Health. “You may have men who have symptoms who have low testosterone levels, but in our view it doesn’t add up convincingly to an undoubted medical condition.”

Reuters quotes another doc saying a European doctor “would look at you blankly” if you asked about Low T. Oh, those behind-the-times Europeans! Don’t they wish they could do disease-mongering like we do in the good old USA.

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June 9, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Dear Gary Schwitzer;
I wanted to stop by and thank you for highlighting this serious and growing problem of the pharmaceutical industry propagating rampant disease mongering.
Though, I try often to break the ice with a little satirical humor; we all can only hope our government representatives and regulatory bodies pay heed to this unconscionable, unethical, and dangerous behavior before the only true “epidemic’ we will face in America will be how to support a growing segment of our population that has been either seriously damaged or permanently disabled by prescribed and FDA approved drugs that are absolutely unnecessary in the vast majority of cases. And to think this is being done all in the name of unacceptable sleazy marketing and outrageous greed mongering.
Thanks for stopping by my blog,