By Jenny Hope
Last updated at 9:06 AM on 1st October 2010
Drug companies have invented the ‘problem’ of low libido in women so that they can sell new drugs, research claims.
The pharmaceutical industry is accused of creating the label of ‘female sexual dysfunction’ to cash in on a market that doesn’t really exist.
And its employees are paying doctors to talk about the condition as a ‘widespread’ disorder which needs diagnosis and treatment, according to researcher Ray Moynihan.
He argues in the British Medical Journal that trials of drugs claiming to increase women’s libido have so far failed to provide evidence of any health benefit.
The claims, highlighted this week in an investigation by the Daily Mail’s Good Health section, come amid increasing concern about the explosion in labels for new medical conditions.
Doctors warn that some of these are ‘non-diseases’ based on diagnoses that treat normal behavioural differences as medical problems.
The definition of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) has been criticised as merely exaggeratingwomen’s dissatisfaction with their partners.
Other sceptics point to similar ‘conditions’ such as hyper-appetite problem – otherwise known as overeating – or Total Allergy Syndrome, in which allergies to ‘modern life’ including chemicals and artificial materials trigger multiple symptoms.
But the mixture of science and marketing behind FSD amounts to a ‘corporate sponsorship’ of the condition, claims Mr Moynihan in his book Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals.
The lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Australia, told the
BMJ: ‘Drug marketing is merging with medical science in a fascinating and frightening way.
‘Drug companies have not simply sponsored the science of this new condition; on occasion they have helped to construct it.’
He quotes a drug company employee saying her firm was interested in ‘expediting the development of a disease’ and had funded surveys portraying sexual problems as widespread.