On Tuesday, November 10, join KCRW and Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute for a fascinating discussion on Disease Mongering featuring Dr. Michael Wilkes of KCRW’s A Second Opinion and a panel of three experts from the medical field.

Panelists include Dr. Michael Wilkes, Allen Frances, Dr. Jerome Hoffman and Marge Ginsburg.

Wilkes is the host of KCRW’s A Second Opinion (Sundays, 8:35 a.m.), is a professor of Medicine at the University of California, Davis and Director of Global Health.  He is an award winning journalist, having worked for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Time and has accrued more than 20 years in public radio.

Frances is a Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University.

Hoffman is a Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Emergency Medicine at UCLA, where he has taught students and residents in the Medical School and the School of Public Health for over 30 years.

Ginsburg is executive director of the Center for Healthcare Decisions (CHCD), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks the public’s informed views on healthcare policy.

Panelists will discuss how a lot of money is made from healthy people who believe they are sick. According to organizers, the social construction of illness is being replaced by the corporate construction of disease. The discussion will cover the possibility of a corporate movement comprising drug company staff, doctors, and consumer groups to raise public awareness about underdiagnosed and undertreated “normal” problems.

Critics say the disease awareness campaigns are commonly linked to companies’ marketing strategies and operate to expand markets for new pharmaceutical products.

Alternative approaches-emphasizing the self-limited or relatively benign natural history of a problem, prevention, and the importance of personal coping strategies-are played down or ignored.

This November 10 event will be held in Santa Monica College’s HSS lecture hall 165, beginning at 6:30pm.

– Submitted by Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein and Shari Davis, SMC Public Policy Institute’s co-directors