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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 11658

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

Toop L, Mangin D.
Industry funded patient information and the slippery slope to New Zealand
BMJ 2007 Oct 6; 335:(7622):694
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/short/335/7622/694?etoc


Abstract:

Industry funded health information campaigns could become common on our television screens if the European Commission proposals are passed. Les Toop and Dee Mangin warn that Europe could end up with similar problems to those in their country.

The European parliament is considering allowing the drug industry to have a much greater role in providing information to patients, with no restriction on the type of media.1 After direct to consumer advertising was rejected in 2002, industry and the commercial arm of the European Commission submitted a new proposal to allow communication between industry and patients that deliberately leaves out the word advertising and replaces the term independence (freedom from commercial influence) with objective. Information can be entirely objective and yet still mislead through incompleteness or lack of balance and context. Opponents believe that industry will not, and cannot be expected to, provide balanced, comparative and comprehensive information,2 and that the proposals amount to advertising by stealth.3 4

In New Zealand and the US, the only two developed countries that allow direct to consumer advertising of prescription medicines, opposition has grown steadily from both the public and doctors. New Zealand’s . . .

Rise of advertising

Back tracking

les.toop@otago.ac.nz

 

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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