First find the drug, then find the disease--even if you have to make one up. Maybe it's not the best medicine... but it sure is great for the profit margins.
Next on the list: Female sex disorder, or what they're already calling FSD, and analysts believe drugs to treat it could eventually do $2 billion in annual sales.
But that's not because women are desperately crying out for a sex med, even if--like men--many could use a natural boost every now and then.
It's because the drug companies are desperately trying to create a market for them, and a new book and accompanying article in BMJ shows the sinister science behind that effort.
Journalist and Newcastle University lecturer Ray Moynihan--author of "Sex, Lies, and Pharmaceuticals: How Drug Companies Plan to Profit from Female Sexual Dysfunction"--says most of the studies into female sex problems have been Big Pharma fabrications, including a series of misleading surveys.
One major survey released in 2005 found that 63 percent of American women suffered from FSD, 40 percent of women in Southeast Asia had problems reaching orgasm and 33 percent of those in southern Europe lacked interest in sex.
But Moynihan says the numbers used in the survey were grand totals--not the actual number of people who experienced problems frequently. In fact, once you include frequency, "the numbers collapse," he said.
Would it surprise anyone to learn that the survey was funded by Pfizer, maker of Viagra?
Moynihan says the other studies that claimed to show widespread female sex problems were similarly manufactured and conflicted--and I've told you all about the shady effort to prime the market for flibanserin, a female sex med that ultimately didn't win FDA approval.
But while the larger numbers may have been Big Pharma inventions, many women do experience sexual frustrations, including problems with desire.
The good news is there are answers--and they don't involve prescription meds.
One recent analysis of a failed trial for a female sex med found that a third of the women who spoke about the problem with their doctor, took a placebo, kept a journal and simply tried to improve their sex lives actually did. (You can read about that here.)
Other studies have found that plain old talk therapy can offer a significant boost for women suffering sex problems.
And if you just need some occasional help getting "in the mood," stick with the tried and true--natural aphrodisiacs like strawberries and chocolate, a little wine, silk sheets and Barry White can make all the difference in the world.