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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 11879

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: report

Bala-Miller P, Macmullan J, Upchurch L
Drugs, doctors and dinners: How drug companies influence health in the developing world
London: Consumers International 2007 Oct 31


Consumers trust doctors to act in the best interests of their patients. However, most consumers are largely unaware of the influence of the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing on the very health professionals they rely on. Between 1995 and 2005, the percentage of total spending on sales and marketing was by far the biggest corporate expense for the pharmaceutical industry. The excesses of drug marketing are well recognised by industry insiders. A survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed 94% of industry stakeholders said that pharmaceutical companies spent
too much money on advertising.2

In this report, Consumers International seeks to highlight the marketing practices3 in emerging and developing economy markets4 by leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. Since direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is banned in most countries health professionals are the primary targets for the sales tactics of the drug companies. Consequently, the scope of our report focuses on doctor-directed promotion…


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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.