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Interesting Article: How to Brand a Disease and Sell a Cure

Posted Oct 12 2010 8:17am

There was a really interesting opinion piece on yesterday by Dr. Carl Elliott, Special to CNN. The piece was titled “How to brand a disease – and sell a cure.” Dr. Carl Elliott  (M.D. and Ph.D.) is the author of “White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine” (Beacon Press, 2010).

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“To brand a disease is to shape its public perception in order to make it more palatable to potential patients. Panic disorder, reflux disease, erectile dysfunction, restless legs syndrome, bipolar disorder, overactive bladder, ADHD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, even clinical depression: All these conditions were once regarded as rare until a marketing campaign transformed the brand.

Once a branded disease has achieved a degree of cultural legitimacy, there is no need to convince anyone that a drug to treat it is necessary. It will come to him as his own idea.” (Source:, October 11, 2010)

This is a fascinating article about branding diseases to sell pharmaceuticals. It really is an intriguing piece. If you’re interested, check it out online at .

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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