Healthy Skepticism
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Identity Statement


Healthy Skepticism (previously MaLAM, the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) was established in 1983. Healthy Skepticism is an independent, international, not for profit organisation for people with an interest in improving health. Most members are doctors or pharmacists, but the membership includes other health professionals and people from the broader community.

Our headquarters are in Adelaide, Australia but key members of our organisation live in many countries and our focus is international. We also collaborate with individuals and organisations around the world who have an interest in improving health.

Healthy Skepticism aims to improve health by reducing harm from misleading drug promotion.

Misleading drug promotion harms health and wastes money. Misleading drug promotion often leads to the use of more expensive drugs that are no more effective and at times more harmful than less costly drugs. This harms people both directly and indirectly by diverting resources away from other areas of health, including hospital and community health care. We believe the long term solution will involve changing the relationships between the health professions, the pharmaceutical industry, governments (regulatory and payment systems) and the community. In the short term we aim to raise awareness in all sectors and influence drug prescription and use.

To enable independent thinking people around the world to work together, we have developed an identity statement which outlines our core values, core message, brand personality and brand icons. We acknowledge ideas from Mike Moser, whose book United we brand: how to create a cohesive brand that’s seen, heard and remembered (Harvard Business School Press 2003) guided the process.

Core Values

The individuals who participate in Healthy Skepticism are passionate about the need to reduce the harm from misleading drug promotion. We aim to find a balance between action and reflection and to be both rational and compassionate.

We advocate that all who influence the health of the community act in accordance with the ethical standards required to deliver the best possible health services and systems. We accept responsibility for ensuring that our own actions demonstrate those ethical standards to the best of our ability.

The concept of healthy scepticism means not accepting claims unless they are justified by evidence, logic and compassion. This requires having the humility to accept or reject claims regardless of whether they are consistent with our previous beliefs or whether they suit our interests.

This being so, our core values are:

We value good health for the whole community

We show this by:

Having productive relationships with the breadth of our stakeholders
Maximising the availability of reliable information
Questioning the status quo
Identifying opportunities for structural change so, rather than blaming individuals or organisations, we focus on the whole system.
We value integrity, honesty and the pursuit of truth

We show this by:

Ensuring that our work is based on the best available evidence
Responding constructively, rationally and productively to challenges and criticism
Being willing to look at other points of view
Taking responsibility for our actions
We value the breadth of views that contribute to healthy debate

We show this by:

Engaging constructively with the broadest range of stakeholders including those whose views differ from ours
Encouraging teamwork and encouraging our supporters to contribute and to develop their skills
Effective, constructive communication

Core Messages

We have spent many hours debating the most appropriate slogan, taking care to reflect our purpose constructively and clearly.


Countering misleading drug promotion

Positioning statement

Healthy Skepticism is an independent, international, not for profit organisation for people with an interest in improving health. We aim to improve health by reducing harm from misleading drug promotion

Countering misleading drug promotion sums up our purpose in a few memorable words. Our positioning statement adds the context – the reason we seek to counter misleading drug promotion is our belief that it wastes money and harms health.
Brand Personality

We are passionate about the importance of better prescribing and the need for the provision of honest, appropriate information regarding pharmaceuticals.

We understand that change will not happen overnight. We liken ourselves to water eroding rock – we will keep at it, constructively, tenaciously, asking questions, and building relationships, even though the process of change may be slow.

This being so, in our personality, we will be:




Having a 'big picture view'

Brand Icons

Our logo consists of 3 elements: the pen, the snake and the globe.

Healthy Skepticism Logo

The pen represents our use of the written word to achieve change. “The pen is mightier than the sword” Edward George Bulwer Lytton 1839 (English novelist and politician 1803-1873)

The pen may also remind people of the act of prescribing, and the brand name pens given out by drug companies.

The snake coiled around the pen is a reference to the staff of Aesculapius (the ancient Greek demigod of medicine) which is a symbol used by the medical profession, health and wisdom

The snake may also remind people of the subtle snake in the Garden of Eden who made misleading promotional claims about the effects of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The globe symbolises our international focus and support base.

Soon we will decide whether or not to 'modernise' our logo.

Peter Mansfield is also a brand icon. Peter’s tenacity and commitment have been the strength of Healthy Skepticism, and for many years he almost single handedly brought about change. But for Healthy Skepticism to flourish in the long term, we need to reduce reliance on Peter and strengthen the organisation’s identity as a growing team.



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