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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 11473

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

Moynihan R.
How to disentangle doctors and drug companies
Open Medicine 2007 Sep 18; 1:(3):epub
http://www.openmedicine.ca/article/view/145/68


Abstract:

The folks at the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche really know how to organize a good meal. Not long ago they treated more than 200 lucky cancer specialists to a night out at one of Australia’s top restaurants, inside the world-famous Sydney Opera House.

The harbourside restaurant boasts a “degustation” menu of sterling caviar, kingfish sashimi and the best of French and Australian wines. The meal was priced at more than A$200 a head, and the whole night cost Roche over A$65,000.1 I know that for fact because a disgruntled diner leaked me a copy of the bill. “The gluttony of the whole thing was mind-blowing,” she told me…


Notes:

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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