So, drug companies created female sexual dysfunction, according to an Australian academic writing in the BMJ? Well, he may be right, but if he’s referring to the propensity of women to develop headaches every Saturday night after Match of the Day, I think he’ll find the condition has been around for a long time. Actually, I’m not sure that was what he meant, because in an accompanying commentary, Dr Sandy Goldbeck-Wood (can that be a real name?), a ‘specialist in psychosexual medicine from Ipswich’ was wittering on about ‘women in tears whose libido has disappeared’. I’d have thought if you lived in East Anglia you’d have better things to worry about than having your car nicked – like trying to find someone outside the family to marry, for example.
Be that as it may, what struck me was the comment from a drug company representative that they were ‘interested in expediting the development of a disease’.
I found this very exciting. I think I may have mentioned (in fact, I may have bored you on the topic) that I will be retiring at the end of the year, and will need something to keep me busy. It strikes me that, having spent the last 35 years dealing with real diseases, I should be well-placed to invent a few of my own. I shall therefore be offering my services as a freelance consultant in what I shall call neopathology. I’ve always wanted to be a proper consultant – the sort that, despite the lack of any qualification other than bare-faced cheek, can charge gullible NHS managers £1500 a day for doing sod all apart from stand in front of a flip chart in a sharp suit.
In addition to the pharmaceutical manufacturers, I shall offer my services to trusts who are going for foundation status and want to get one over on the competition. Think how they will stand out from the herd when they have whole departments devoted to the treatment of diseases that neighbouring DGHs haven’t even heard of. It’s difficult to know where to start, though. Do I take a scattergun approach and offer a portfolio of diseases across the spectrum, taking in medical and surgical specialties and covering all age groups? Or do I develop a niche market, perhaps concentrating on diseases which could reasonably be dealt with by professional groups who are currently under-occupied – environmental health physicians, for example? Actually, that might be a good idea, find a condition which affects the whole community, and which will give the drain-sniffers something to do. Also, given the large number of potential victims, there will be a huge market for any drugs that Big Pharma chooses to produce to counter the new disease.
There won’t be any shortage of pretend ailments, either. For a start, there’s polyglandular metabolopathy, the condition that causes poor people to gain weight despite not eating enough to keep a sparrow alive. Of course, there are already drugs like Orlistsat to counter this unfortunate disorder of ‘me glands’ , but the new generation of pharmaceuticals, being totally ineffective, won’t result in patients leaving skidmarks on bus seats.
I’m going to stop now. I’ve got a prospectus to write.