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Healthy Skepticism AdWatch

AdWatch illuminates the logical, psychological and pharmacological techniques used in drug advertisements.

There are AdWatch issues about advertisements published in the following countries:

Australia Italy USA


The most recent AdWatch is:

April 2010, USA:
Wyeth’s Pristiq® (desvenlafaxine) for major depressive disorder
This advertisement misleadingly promotes a serotonin and noradrenalin reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant on the basis of not needing titration. The antidepressant is a metabolite of an established SNRI, which is approaching the end of its patent life in several countries. No evidence is provided of its effectiveness and safety relative to the established drug.
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All AdWatch issues:

2010 April, USA: Wyeth’s Pristiq® (desvenlafaxine) for major depressive disorder

2009 October, USA: Amylin and Eli Lilly’s Byetta® (exenatide injection) for type 2 diabetes

2009 September, Italy: Lescol (fluvastatin) from Novartis

2007 August, Australia: Criticism of Adwatch on Avandia (rosiglitazone)

2007 June, Australia: Celebrex (celecoxib) from Pfizer

2007 March, Australia: Avandia (rosiglitazone) from GlaxoSmithKline

2006 December, Italy: Avelox (moxafloxacin) from Bayer

2006 September, Australia: Efexor Tetrapack (venlafaxine) from Wyeth

2006 July, Australia: Lipidil (fenofibrate) from Solvay/Fournier

2006 April, Australia: Estelle-35ED (cyproterone-oestradiol) from Douglas

2004 August, Australia: Feedback on Micardis Plus (telmisartan plus hydrochlorothiazide) from Boehringer Ingelheim

2004 June, Australia: Micardis Plus (telmisartan plus hydrochlorothiazide) from Boehringer Ingelheim

2004 April, Australia: Dialogue on Nexium (esomeprazole) from AstraZeneca

2004 March, Australia: Feedback on Augmentin (amoxicillin with potassium clavulanate) from GlaxoSmithKline

2004 February, Australia: Augmentin (amoxicillin with potassium clavulanate) from GlaxoSmithKline

2003 December, Australia: Feedback on Nexium (esomeprazole) from AstraZeneca

2003 October, Australia: Nexium (esomeprazole) from AstraZeneca


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909