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so, i have several times read (in news articles, medical articles, and journal articles) that antidepressant prescriptions exceed the amount of patients who actually take them. to an extent, this sounds reasonable, though i only very, very rarely hear about someone who received a prescription but never took a single pill. those cases probably outnumber the cases of people who took an antidepressant but never had a prescription, however i cannot be certain about that. personally, i have actually known more people to take them without prescription, though only for short durations. but, my question comes from two things. firstly, we see how prominently antidepressants and other psych drugs feature in sales lists---they occupy many top positions for number of prescriptions and also for profit generated. this is good for stocks, good for price bargaining, good for marketing, and good for other financial, social, and political reasons. secondly, claims about the severity and percentage of negative (especially persistent negative) reactions to these drugs rely heavily on such figures to minimize the perceived damages and risks of antidepressants and their kin. trying to drown out the more serious harms and the deaths seems meaningfully accomplished in the minds of many laypeople and doctors just by proposing those harms and deaths are a strict and nearly inconsequential minority. thus, it struck me---do you think pharmaceutical companies buy any of their own medications (or even just fudge some of their sales numbers) in order to appear more powerful/successful or to dilute the seriousness of their negative outcomes in the patient populations? i have no idea if this is true, or if it would seem like a worthwhile goal to them, but perhaps some of you have read about such things in books or articles. if you have any ideas or evidences pro or con, i would be interested in hearing about them.