6 Kinds of Pills Big Pharma Tries to Get You Hooked on for Life
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Like ADHD and "pediatric psychopathology" drugs, Pharma conducts aggressive early treatment campaigns for asthma drugs, recommending that children as young as one year be treated when "symptoms" first emerge. ("Before they go away,” says one cynical doctor.)
It has also marketed daily asthma "control" medicines like Advair and Symbicort so aggressively (prescription drugs added onto patients' regular asthma medicine -- ka-ching) that nearly two-thirds of the nation's millions of asthma sufferers take them. Despite the expense of adding an additional drug to rescue inhalers or inhaled corticosteroids when asthma is a lifelong disease, there are no clinical benefits to the upsell, says the research institute of Medco, the nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager. Neither trips to the ER or hospitalizations are reduced with control drugs. And there's another mark against the daily drugs that don't work: they may make asthma worse says some published reports.
Martha Rosenberg frequently writes about the impact of the pharmaceutical, food and gun industries on public health. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and other outlets.