A new book says that to boost sales of Viagra-like drugs, both pharmaceutical companies and researchers exaggerate the condition of sexual difficulty in women.
While experts aver that millions of women around the world suffer from sexual difficulty such as low libido and discomfort, a new book has said that all these claims are exaggerations to boost sales of Viagra-like drugs for what they call female sexual dysfunction (FSD).
Pharmaceutical companies have spent millions to find an effective drug solution, hoping for similar returns as Viagra, the male impotence pill that is worth an astonishing $500 millions in sales every year.
Already women can be prescribed a testosterone patch to boost low libido; other treatments waiting to be licensed include an anti-depressant-type drug that affects the feel-good brain chemical serotonin and one containing the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) that the body can turn into testosterone.
But now a new book suggests that not only is the effectiveness of such treatments questionable, but the claim that nearly half of all women have a problem is deliberately misleading.
In fact, researchers and pharmaceutical companies are accused of 'medicalising' female sexual problems to sell drugs.
According to leading health journalist Ray Moynihan, it's all part of the drive by drug companies to 'expand the patient pool' by 'creating markets for lifestyle drugs' for both men and women.
"Companies no longer just sell drugs," The Daily Mail quoted Moynihan as saying in his book, Sex, Lies And Pharmaceuticals: How Drug Companies Are Bankrolling The Next Big Condition For Women.
"Increasingly they create a disease like female sexual dysfunction and then spend a fortune 'educating' doctors to prescribe strong drugs to women that they don't need, and that are unlikely to help them," he added.
Further, these drugs, which are marginally effective at best, come with a nasty raft of potential side-effects, including nausea, dizziness and a raised risk of heart disease.
Moynihan is livid over the claim that 43% of women suffer from a sexual problem, calling it 'one of the most pervasive medical myths, as extreme as it is absurd'.
Researchers into sexual disorders all agree that some women have genuine sexual problems that may involve anxiety, pain or difficulty that might respond to medical treatment.
But many others might be better helped with counselling.
Yet, a lot of money and expertise is invested in persuading both the medical profession and patients that popping a pill to revive a flagging libido is the quickest and easiest route to go.
Moynihan's book describes in impressive detail just how this is being achieved. For instance, 95% of the experts who hammered out the medical definition of female sexual dysfunction that is widely used in promotional literature had financial relationships with the company making a drug to treat it.