I choose to right about the heavy medicalized condition of high cholesterol, this condition is particularly over-medicalized in the U.S. I am not saying that it cannot be a serious medical condition, but the overuse of medications when dealing with high cholesterol, especially only moderately high cholesterol, has made it one of the most heavily medicalized conditions in America. I believe that both cultural and economic factors have played the biggest role in this illness being over-marketed and over-treated with drugs. First, is the issue that culture has played in this, the reluctance of Americans to be responsible for their own health has been a big issue, people want to eat anyway they please and not exercise and then expect biomedical interventions to enhance their lives by keeping their cholesterol low, their blood pressure done, and so forth, without the effort on their parts. I know there are people who live very active lifestyles and still suffer from high cholesterol, but they are in the minority. This condition should not turn to medications first, which is what often happens due to the second major factor in this over-medicalization, the economic business of biomedicine. Due to the heavy promotion of drugs as the first option when someone has high cholesterol, due to heavy advertisement that permeates the American biomedical culture; doctors often turn to these drugs first, instead of working with the patients to decrease their cholesterol naturally. Also, patients see these advertisements and request these medications from their doctors, thinking this is the best possible way to treat their conditions.
I have included a couple of links to commercials for cholesterol medications. The first includes a link to a Lipitor commercial featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik, the creator of the artificial heart, and at the time this commercial aired it was seen as one of the most dishonest drug ads out there, due to the minimalization of the harmful side effects this drug can cause. One of the advertising strategies used in this advertisement was using Dr. Jarvik as an authority figure and as someone who had access to privileged medical knowledge. It also used him in order to give a sense that it was a patient-doctor interaction, like your doctor talking directly to you, saying you need to ask about this drug. Overall, the commercial tried to present a sleek, modern presentation that was to appeal to consumers, hinting that this drug was the latest and greatest that biomedicine had to offer.
1- Pfizer. (Producer). (2010). Lipitor tv commercial – robert jarvik. [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt1xRPEjhrk
2- Pfizer. (Producer). (2012). Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) tablets tv commercials. [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.lipitor.com/toolsresources/lipitorontv.aspx