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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 13900

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

Shankar PR.
Singapore Med J 2008 Apr; 49:(4):363-5


Dear Sir,
Pharmaceutical promotion is a fact of life for doctors and prescribers the world over. In the United States of America (USA), almost USD 21 billion was spent on promotion in 2002.(1) In many developing countries, medical representatives frequently serve as the only source of drug information.(1) In India, the huge number of products on the market makes selection of the right drug, and its correct use, increasingly difficult. Commercial drug information far outweighs independent and unbiased drug information.(2) In Nepal, many rural areas may lack access to medicines, but Kathmandu and other cities are booming markets for pharmaceuticals.(3) Aggressive promotion has a substantial impact on prescribing behaviour.(3) In Singapore, drug companies spend about $60 million a year-roughly 9% of sales-on promoting their products. As they are not allowed to advertise directly to consumers, they spend the money on educating doctors and providing free samples which are not meant for sale.(4)

Aggressive promotion has been shown to influence the prescribing behaviour of doctors…

Advertising as Topic* Drug Industry* Humans Internet Patient Education as Topic Physician's Practice Patterns*


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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.