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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 10983

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

Biles D, Howlett P, Hughes R.
Journals and drug advertising: Medical schools, take the lead
BMJ 2007 Jul 28; 335:(7612):172


It is not only journal editors who need to take leadership in changing the culture of acceptance of drug advertising 1,2 : medical schools also need to recognise their responsibility.

Medical schools are to be commended for integrating many of the principles of evidence based medicine into their curriculums. However, when it comes to teaching about the ethics of marketing there is much to be done: to our knowledge, no British medical school has a policy on pharmaceutical interaction.

Our American counterparts are setting the standard: Yale, Stanford, and many other American medical schools have policies restricting pharmaceutical interaction during medical school.3 Their policies reflect the value of marketing representatives as a source of evidence.

The BMA’s recent annual representatives’ meeting signalled the beginnings of a cultural shift in the United Kingdom. The meeting voted almost unanimously in favour of supporting medical schools in not only forming policies but dedicating time . . .


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Email a Friend influence multinational corporations effectively, the efforts of governments will have to be complemented by others, notably the many voluntary organisations that have shown they can effectively represent society’s public-health interests…
A small group known as Healthy Skepticism; formerly the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) has consistently and insistently drawn the attention of producers to promotional malpractice, calling for (and often securing) correction. These organisations [Healthy Skepticism, Médecins Sans Frontières and Health Action International] are small, but they are capable; they bear malice towards no one, and they are inscrutably honest. If industry is indeed persuaded to face up to its social responsibilities in the coming years it may well be because of these associations and others like them.
- Dukes MN. Accountability of the pharmaceutical industry. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23; 360(9346)1682-4.