The old journalist line that you should never let the facts spoil a good story could apply equally as well to our friends in the pharmaceutical industry.
Pfizer is currently bombarding doctors with advertisements for its drug Zoloft (sertraline) as an antidote for ‘social anxiety disorder’. This reminds us of the wonderful story about that dread disease ‘social phobia’, which sounds like a close running mate of social anxiety disorder. Social phobia is quite nasty, and it’s almost reached epidemic levels, according to researchers. In fact, one million Australians alone suffer from it.
So Roche in Australia launched a drug called Manerix to come to the aid of these million sufferers. Unfortunately, when Roche came to find some of them to recruit into a trial, they couldn’t find anyone to participate. Fred Nadjarian, managing director of Roche Australia, came clean, and admitted the condition had been made up by over-zealous marketing people, keen to create a new market.
So the next time your doctor tells you that you have social phobia, just say one word in reply: Nadjarian.