David Healy’s article, “Influences on the Experience of Everyday Nerves”, exposes the tremendous influence and control which large pharmaceutical companies exercise over the public’s opinion regarding mental illnesses (anxiety, panic attacks, depression). In essence, the public opinion concerning a disease (disease culture) is shaped in a way that maximizes profitability for a pharmaceutical company. Through carefully marketing in television, radio, newspaper, articles and academic journals, these companies sway the paradigm of the healthcare system in their favor.
Healy uses the emergence of the disease known as “panic attacks” as an example; by endorsing literature and marketing studies on panic attacks, pharmaceutical companies have shaped the culture of this disease. Healy posits that during this pharmaceutical push towards establishing panic attacks as a legitimate disease, television programs and scholarly articles featuring panic attacks increased, from BBC to NBC. This media exposure shaped the public opinion, influencing physicians and patients alike. The way in which patients understood and expressed their experiences changed, and also the way physicians understood those experiences also changed. Pharmaceutical funding placed in academia has also included baseless scientific articles and biased clinical trials.
To conclude Healy’s thought, it can be said that Pharmaceutical companies produce both the disease and the remedy; even further, they produce the disease in order to sell the remedy.