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Healthy Skepticism Announcements

Conference Program: Selling Sickness, Amsterdam, 7-8 Oct 2010

The program has now been released for the International Conference 'Selling Sickness'
7 and 8 October 2010 - Mövenpick Hotel, Amsterdam


The conference has a challenging programme with a variety of sessions, aimed at exploring the theme of ‘Selling Sickness’ on the first day, and working towards solutions on the second day.

The conference is designed for everyone with an interest in pharmaceutical information and promotion including: health professionals, policy makers, staff of government health and regulatory departments, inspectors, staff of pharmaceutical, advertising and public relations companies, staff of NGOs and journalists. The host is Healthy Skepticism (Netherlands) assisted by the Dutch Institute for Rational Use of Medicine and Healthy Skepticism (International). The sponsors are the Dutch Ministry of Health and the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate. Collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) is in process.

Direct links to:
Detailed programme
Time Table of the programme
Conference registration
Call for posters

The Selling Sickness conference brochure

Programme day 1 - Thursday 7 October

• Welcome and opening
What is selling sickness and is it for real?
• Where science meets marketing - Ray Moynihan
• Industry’s role in informing the public - Michel Dutrée
• DSM-V Opening Pandora’s Box - Allen Frances
• Panel discussion and Q&A session

What new methods are being used?
• The Dutch situation, Supervision and law enforcement - Josée Hansen
• Clinical trials as disease mongering instruments - Trudy Dehue
• Update on social media - John Mack
• Panel discussion and Q&A session
• Poster presentations

Learning from documented examples
• Promotion to the public: European disease awareness campaigns - Teresa Alves
• Promotion of prescription medicines to physicians and the public - Dee Mangin
• Panel discussion and Q&A session

Who pays the bill?
• Ethical aspects - to be confirmed
• The influence on patients - Ilaria Passarani
• The influence on rationale use of medicine - Kees de Joncheere
• Panel discussion and Q&A session
• Closing remarks & networking reception
• Conference dinner (registration needed)

Programme day 2 - Friday 8 October

• Opening

Redesigning the system?
• Financial and insurance aspects - to be confirmed
• Independent information for patients - Hilda Bastian
• Redesigning the incentives for the pharmaceutical industry - Dean Baker
• Panel discussion and Q&A session

The need for new regulations and guidelines
• Regulations on diseases promotion - Benk Korthals
• Regulation of pharmaceutical promotion - Graham Dukes
• Guidelines and HTA - to be confirmed
• Panel discussion and Q&A session
• poster presentations
• Prize ‘best poster’

New responsibilities for main stakeholders?
• The industry: partner in solutions? - to be confirmed
• Should the Medicines Evaluation Board be involved? - to be confirmed
• International Cooperation - Peter Mansfield

• Final panel discussion: towards a joint statement

• Closing remarks & reception

More information

For more detailed information about the programme of the conference click here.

If you want to contact us, please mail to Sandra van Nuland, Project manager Gezonde scepsis: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


before July 15

to take advantage of discounted earlybird rates:
• staff of non-profit organisations € 225,-
• staff of profit organisations € 395,-
• students € 175,- After July 15 the rates will be:
• staff of non-profit organisations € 295,-
• staff of profit organisations € 495,-
• students € 175,-
Conference registration

Call for posters
The conference includes poster sessions that will create an opportunity to share and debate a wide range of views consistent with the theme of this conference. Next to traditional posters we also welcome multimedia contributions about relevant topics. Posters are welcome from academics and non-academics and do not have to present original research. People interested in presenting a poster are invited to submit an abstract for consideration. Look at Call for posters for Abstract submission form and more information. • Call for posters


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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963