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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 13417

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

Burton B.
Australian drug industry gives details of money spent courting doctors
BMJ 2008 Apr 5; 336:(7647):742
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/336/7647/742-a


Abstract:

Australia’s drug industry has said that in the last six months of 2007 alone it organised more than 14 633 “educational events” for the benefit of medical professionals. Detailed monthly reports by 43 companies show that they spent more than $A31m (£14.3m; 18.1m; $28m) and attracted 385 221 people to the events.

Although many meetings were held in hospitals and attracted attendances of only about two dozen, others were more elaborate affairs. Amgen Australia, for example, spent $328 206 on food, alcohol, travel, and accommodation at a Sydney hotel for a two day clinical haematology symposium attended by 142 haematologists and trainees. Amgen sells a range of haematology drugs.

In July 2006 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a government regulatory agency, reauthorised the self regulatory code of conduct developed by Medicines Australia, the major drug industry group.

However, the commission required member companies to submit monthly reports detailing each . . .

 

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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