Segments in this Video

Illness Shaping (02:50)


The drug industry manufactures illnesses as well as medicine to treat those illnesses. Learn about "abdominal obesity" aka "metabolic syndrome," or a large belly.

Drug for Fat Belly (03:23)

Endocrinologist Boris Hansel in Paris recommends treatment for metabolic syndrome that includes exercise, healthy diet, and a drug called Acomplia. Doctors in Canada also promote the drug.

Metabolic Syndrome: Hot Air? (02:29)

Scientists in France announced that "metabolic syndrome" didn't exist. It is a combination of four treatable conditions that have the same risks of metabolic syndrome itself.

Doctor's Defense (03:07)

Dr. Boris Hansel answers confrontational questions about metabolic syndrome. He defends his position that the syndrome is responsible for a number of high risk health conditions.

Global Ban of Acomplia (02:44)

Acomplia is discovered to create psychiatric tendencies that lead, in a few cases, to suicide Acomplia is globally banned. The drug manufacturer Sanofi did know about these side effects in advance.

Acomplia: Who Is to Blame? (04:04)

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is the first to authorize the sale of Acomplia in the EU. The authorization document given to investigators is blacked out.

Big Money behind Obesity Drug (02:58)

Dr. Pierre Despres admits to getting $15 million from Sanofi to set up a prestigious research organization to highlight metabolic syndrome. He says he warned the company about the side effects of Acomplia.

Manipulation by Pharmaceutical Companies (04:38)

Dr. Boris Hansel was not only paid by pharmaceutical company Sanofi, he wrote a book about metabolic syndrome, a project also supported by Sanofi.

Disease Manipulation for Profit (02:43)

Learn how common conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol are manipulated to include more patients who, in turn, use more drugs.

Osteoporosis Scare (03:30)

A drug company-sponsored campaign to raise osteoporosis awareness includes x-rays, medical analysis, recommendation of a new drug, and--a drug mobile.

Fear Tactics and Profits (03:22)

See an osteoporosis commercial designed to scare women. Disease mongering is a key strategy for pharmaceutical industry profits. Osteoporosis is "sold" as a disease, and not as a natural condition of aging.

Death by Fosamax (03:30)

A dying woman leaves a final testimonial about the drug Fosamax's responsibility for her fatal condition. About 225 million people have taken this high-risk drug, making billions in profit for Merck, a. pharmaceutical company.

Fosamax on Trial (04:59)

For accusations that Merck knew Fosamax caused necrosis of the jaw, a Merck executive takes no responsibility. Merck continues to promote the drug's ability to reduce hip fractures by 50%, though this is misleading.

Fosamax Dangerous? (02:08)

A Merck executive feigns ignorance in the face of the FDA report that Fosamax is dangerous when taken for more than 3 years.

Merck is Mum on Products (01:54)

At an international symposium, a Merck representative claims she cannot speak about the company's products.

Journalist Interviews Former Merck Executive (06:09)

A former Merck executive and osteoporosis specialist responds to confrontational questions about Fosamax.

Credits: Disease Branding: Selling Sickness to the Public (00:27)

Credits: Disease Branding: Selling Sickness to the Public

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Disease Branding: Selling Sickness to the Public

Part of the Series : Underhand Tactics: Investigating Corporate Culture
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Decades ago few people worried about cholesterol, but thanks to medical research high LDL levels are now seen as a major health problem. And due to related pharmaceutical studies, statin reducers are among the most widely used drugs today. But did a medical challenge really spark those advances, or did Big Pharma realize that cholesterol could boost profits? How urgent is the health issue behind every new pill and treatment? This film examines what’s known as disease branding, an aspect of pharmaceutical marketing that focuses on building public awareness of medical dangers—some genuine, some questionable. While disease branding can destigmatize problems (for example, it can reframe incontinence as “an overactive bladder” and encourage people to seek treatment) it can also put healthy people at risk, leading them to take medicines with potentially dangerous side effects. It might be said that to sell a cure, you first need to sell the disease. Do we face a future in which normal biological processes like menopause are clinicalized and “treated”? A part of the series Underhand Tactics: Investigating Corporate Culture. (55 minutes)

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL52426

ISBN: 978-1-61753-964-0

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.