Creating a Disease to Fit the Drug


A Problem for Every Drug

Isn’t it curious how something is barely noticed until a drug is created for it? Then it becomes an epidemic. Take what started out as “female sexual interest/arousal disorder” in DSM-5 in 2013. Fancy that! Two years later, a drug — Boehringer-Ingelheim’s Flibanserin (Addyi™) — was created for it, after which it reached its hideous claws into many bedrooms.

This is not to trivialize the issue of women who are not keen on having sex with their partners, who don’t masturbate, and have few sexual fantasies. But it’s an issue, not a “problem.”

Only DSM-5 made it into a disease, and the existence of the disease is validated with a supposed treatment for it. Addyi™  started out as a failed antidepressant, and then someone noticed that the rats on it became hypersexual, so hey, Bob’s your uncle.

Counting Down the Steps to Creating a Disease

That is Step 1 in creating a disease: we need a drug for it.

Step 2 is that a bunch of academics have to sign onto it with such telltale smarm as “Having more options is a way for women to achieve sexual health.” These academics are known in the trade as “KOLs,” or Key Opinion Leaders, or academics who are willing to shill for the company’s products and are known internally. Having KOLs on board is essential for FDA approval.

Step 3 is marketing after FDA approval. Here, the media are helpful. There have already been many gripping stories about Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), Do you have it? So many women are bored with their partners and scarcely have the energy to haul the Magic Wand out of the bottom drawer. Yes, of course they have the new disease. They need Vyleesi. And they’ll ask their doctors if the wretched thing “is right for them.” (Note the formulation which makes the female patients the passive petitioners in the face of the almighty Half-God in White.) Naturally, the providers have been primed by the drug reps and will respond “Vyleesi!”

Here’s the Result

So we have a whole package. The #MeToo movement that encourages women to move forward aggressively about everything, and the pharmaceutical industry that advertises indications (HSDD!) as well as drugs. And a corps of medical practitioners who prescribe for all problems because it’s the quickest way of getting patients out of the office.

Counseling?  Psychotherapy?

Not on the agenda. Baby, you’ve come a long, long way, and after your Vyleesi, you may feel nauseous. But which would you prefer: your partner or the drug?

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