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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 10437

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Harvey KJ, Harris AH, Bulfone L.
The National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Bill 2007: reform or fracture?
Med J Aust 2007 Jun 13; 187:(4):206-207


Reform is needed, but will the current Bill enact the best options?

Two articles in this issue of the Journal 1,2 comment on a complex but important piece of legislation put forward by the Minister for Health and Ageing – the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Bill 2007 (the Bill).3

The Bill splits the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule into two formularies: “one part for single brand drugs [F1], the other part for drugs that have multiple brands or that are interchangeable at the patient level with drugs with multiple brands [F2]”.3 The Bill allows reference pricing of drugs within each formulary but disallows an ongoing link in the price of drugs between formularies…


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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