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Cohen on the Marketing of Psychiatric Disorders and Drugs

Social Welfare Professor David Cohen spoke to the science podcast Mind & Matter about the growing use of psychiatric drugs, marketing tactics used by major pharmaceutical companies, and what we are learning about long-term health effects on adults and children. Cohen linked the widespread use of anti-depressants such as Prozac to a multi-pronged effort by the “psycho-pharmaceutical medical industrial complex” to convince people that their struggles in life are due to a brain disorder. “We have created and trained generations of people to think that their distress, their misbehavior, their difficult choices, their oppression, all the problems of living as a human being are probably medical problems that have a medical solution,” he said. “That’s the dominant view today, that we are surrounded by mental illnesses.” Drugs can be a legitimate way for some individuals to function well in life, Cohen said, but he cautioned that patients should understand the medical risks and profit motives surrounding powerful prescription drugs.


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