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Drug industry's influence drives doctors' diagnoses

Susan Kelleher and Duff Wilson interviewed more than 160 doctors, patients, medical analysts, regulatory officials and other experts for a Seattle Times series about the health care industry and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. "Suddenly Sick" reveals that perviously healthy people go to the doctor only to be diagnosed with an illness because the definitions of disease have changed. Among the Times' findings: "Pharmaceutical firms have commandeered the process by which diseases are defined. ... Some diseases have been radically redefined without a strong basis in medical evidence. The drug industry has bolstered its position by marketing directly to the health-conscious consumer, leading younger and healthier people to consider themselves at risk and to start taking medications." The series includes a sidebar about sources used in the story. (Duff Wilson reported and wrote this story while working for The Seattle Times. He now reports for The New York Times.)

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