Business: Psychoprofits

Tranquilizer under stress

Students take the pills to suppress exam-time jitters, and actors pop them to relieve stage fright. Lonely housewives rely on them to get through empty days, and narcotics addicts use them to counter withdrawal symptoms. Valium, the ubiquitous tranquilizer that has been on the market for 17 years, has also benefited its developer, Switzerland's F. Hoffmann-La Roche & Co. It remains the world's largest selling prescription drug; in the U.S., which accounts for some 40% of Roche's $1.4 billion pharmaceutical sales, doctors write 44 million prescriptions for it each year....

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