GERD: You don’t have it because it doesn’t exist

If your doctor tells you that you suffer from GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), he’s lying – because the condition doesn’t exist, and was invented by the drugs industry.

GERD is a serious-sounding name for common-or-garden heartburn, which many of us have from time to time. 

But you don’t need to take a powerful drug indefinitely in order to deal with heartburn – so that’s why drug giant GlaxoSmithKline invented the condition, GERD, in order to market its drug Zantac.

The same goes for conditions such as ‘overactive bladder’, which was invented by the drug manufacturer Pharmacia in order to market Detrol, and ‘compulsive shopping disorder’, a mental illness devised by Forrest Laboratories and used to promote its antidepressant Celexa.

This practice is known in the industry as condition branding, a new book, Our Daily Meds, reveals.  Doctors usually fall for it because most of their ongoing education after leaving medical school is from the drug company salesmen or company-sponsored conferences.

(Source:  Our Daily Meds, by Melody Petersen, published by Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008).