The Science of Beauty

The beauty quotient continues to expand making even brown eyes a condition to be fixed according to pharmaceutical companies.

The “lifestyle” drug market — which was estimated to surpass $29 billion in 2007 — pits problems of a social or cosmetic nature against conditions threatening physical health or well-being.

In a world where baldness and frown lines are medical conditions to be cured the boundaries of real illness and self improvement have become quite blurred.

“The debate is often framed here between treatment and enhancement,” said Dr. Joel Lexchin, a professor of health policy and management at York University in Toronto. “They’re taking what is traditionally considered normal human variation and trying to homogenize the way people look. On an individual level, people can do probably whatever they want, but on a collective level, we have to think about whether producing drugs that enhance people is really the best use of our resources.”

High Demand for Cheap Generic Drugs Dig Into Global Pharmaceutical Market Sales

Generic drugs are in high demand in growth markets in Europe and China and will quickly out pace the sale of name brand drugs.

One of the fastest growing markets will be for Type II diabetes medications as Western lifestyles and diseases encroach on the developing world.

Global sales growth of prescription drugs could be cut in half over the next five years as lucrative brands lose patent protection and cheaper generics and emerging markets become the only significant growth drivers, according to IMS Health.

Painkiller Abuse Targeted by Obama’s Administration

The overall rate of deaths from drugs — including heroin, cocaine, and prescription opioids — is approaching the number of deaths from car crashes each year.

In 2007, there were 28,000 deaths from prescription drug overdoses.

Those deaths were driven largely by the abuse of prescription painkillers.

Prescription painkiller abuse now matches abuse of illegal drugs, and mortality from the prescription drugs exceeds overdose deaths from cocaine and heroin combined

“We are in the midst of a public health crisis driven by prescription drug abuses,”

“In 2007, there were 28,000 deaths from prescription drug overdoses — five times the number in 1990, Kerlikowske said. Those deaths were driven largely by the abuse of prescription painkillers.”

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