In 2001, an automated telephone survey paid for by a drug company asked adults a simple, uncomfortable question: How often do you go?
The results produced a striking number: Nearly 17% of adults in the United States — some 33 million people — were declared to have overactive bladder disorder.
And a massive new market for drug sales was born.
Last year, sales of drugs to manage overactive bladder, once simply known as incontinence, reached nearly $3 billion — even though experts in the field say the condition is best managed without drugs at all.
At the center of the issue are two urologists, known as the “godfathers” of overactive bladder disorder: Alan Wein of the University of Pennsylvania and Paul Abrams of the University of Bristol in England. The two researchers re-named the condition, developed a definition for it and organized drug-company sponsored conferences that advocated for using drugs to treat it. Read the full story here.