A Billion Dollar Deal and How it Changed Your World…

28 Sep

It started when this book was published

I was flicking though the channels last night, looking for something interesting to watch and I found a documentary about Pharmaceutical companies, a topic which can be sometimes enlightening, it was called Billion Dollar Deals and How They Changed Your World 

The documentary (the first of three in the series) mentioned how a CEO of a Pharmaceutical company said:

I want three things:

  1. I want Research and marketing to work very close.
  2. I want Research and marketing to work very close.
  3. I want Research and marketing to work very close.

The American government, trying to limit prescription drug use published the DSM III book to standardise the definitions of mental illnesses, give guidelines and some tests to guide doctors as to what the correct procedure was with certain illnesses.

Up until this point, many definitions existed, many course of treatments, it wasn’t very specific, maybe people need medication? Maybe they needed someone to talk to? And by trying to limit drug use, by defining the prescription drug use prescription use exploded!

Quite unexpected, but equally fascinating, for me.

How do you sell something no one seems to want?prozac

It started with a book being published offering guidelines, the book was the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980 which added 205 new categories, together with standardised tests for many, precipitating an avalanche of drugs – including, most famously Prozac – developed or repurposed to match these new markets.

The tests in DSM III enabled the companies to sell more and moremeasure-it

By including tests in the book that could diagnose people easily, the people that published the book thought they could limit the over use of drugs people were taking, but quite the opposite occurred. The DSM III book was a manual the marketing departments could use to see drugs that before no one wanted to buy.

It was very easy to diagnose people, easy to prescribe the drugs, then very hard to come off of the drugs. In England Antidepressant and anti-anxiety prescriptions now cost the NHS about £60m a year, the second biggest cost after staff.

As natural as chewing gum?PharmInvestigations

One CEO in 1976 wanted medication to be as natural as chewing gum, has gone from dream to near-reality.


Its easy to see how DSM III was a hitDSM

He wanted everyone to be on some form of medication, all your friends would be medication, and that would be the new norm and some very clever people realised early on that the DSM III book would made it happen, they had a definition, tests, lots of new customers and tons of work to do selling medication to people that didn’t need any.

Whats interesting is that presentations were conducted with investors in hotels and the state of health care in America was forecasted, and investors said yes.

Quite remarkable, the next episode covers Money

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: