- Lifestyle drug
Lifestyle drug is a term commonly applied to medications which treat conditions like
baldness, impotence, wrinkles, or obesity.
No standard medical definition or criteria are associated with the term. Insurers neither provide any definition of the term, nor label any medication as a lifestyle drug, nor classify any medications as lifestyle drugs as a criterion for reimbursement. [Some English-language media (e.g. [http://www.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUSL1211059120070612 Sanofi drops after FDA staff comments on Acomplia] ) translate a category name used in Germany's pharmaceutical reimbursement system as "lifestyle" drug. This is not a literal translation, however. The German Lebensstildroge translates literally as lifestyle drug, but this appears both not to be the original name, and also to have rather different connotations in German than "lifestyle drug" does here. It seems likely the original German category name simply isn't as "sexy" as "lifestyle drug", and so got "punched up" during translation.]
The term is entirely a popular usage, and describes a drug that targets a condition which is considered, in absolute or in relative terms, as unworthy of treatment. It finds broad use in media [ [http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=&q=%22lifestyle+drug Google search] ] , and is usually intended and interpreted as pejorative.
Over time, pharmaceuticals
research and developmentcreates an ever-larger catalog of medications with an ever-broader range of effects. To the extent that its effects restore someone with a recognized diseaseor disorder to a state of healthconsidered normal, the marketing and use of a particular medication will more likely be judged legitimate and/or necessary. This judgment is also be more likely to the extent the disease or disorder is considered serious or severe
Critics of pharamaceutical firms point to advocacy of novel "disorders", not recognized as such before their "cures" could be profitably marketed. the consequences including generally greater worries about health, and unnecessary medical research and health care expenditure.
Defining a particular condition (i.e. some constituent element of the human condition) as a
disease, disorder, or dysfunctionmakes a more or less explicit value judgmenton the condition in terms of good and evil. In the process (often described as medicalization), similarly value-laden concepts like "healthy" or " normal" undergo complementary redefinitions.
medicalizationof some element of human condition has significance, in principle, as a matter for political discourseor dialoguein civil societyconcerning values or morals.
The public character and significance of
medicalizationin general or in any specific case only occasionally becomes clear – the most prominent such occasion perhaps being the 1973vote of the American Psychiatric Associationto renounce its prior recognition of homosexualityas a clinical mental disorder.
Critics argue that pharmaceutical firms, through advocacy hidden from public view among makers of public policy and specialist experts, as well as
mass marketingwhere the definition of some condition as medical is taken as a foregone conclusion, the potential for free and open public dialog regarding its implications is diminished.
Social critics also question the propriety of devoting huge research budgets towards creating these drugs when far more dangerous diseases like
cancerand AIDSremain uncured. It is sometimes claimed that lifestyle drugs amount to little more than medically sanctioned recreational drug use. Proponents, however, point out that improving the patient's subjective quality of life has always been a primary concern of medicine, and argue that these drugs are doing just that.
* [http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jun2007/db20070615_535601.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_after+work Are Pharmas Addicted to Lifestyle Drugs?]
Business Week, June 15, 2007
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