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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 15748

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: news

A Diversion - The AstraZeneca video
Science Based Wellness 2009 Jun 6
http://www.mingbaima.com/2009/06/a-diversion-the-astrazeneca-video/


Full text:

This post is a diversion from heart attacks to discuss the AstraZeneca video.

In my previous post, The Heart Attack Process (1) I included a link to a video that illustrates how most heart attacks occur. As I pointed out, the video was the product of AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company.

AstraZeneca did not produce the video out of the goodness of their collective heart. It is a promotional video which, so the makers hope, will contribute to the bottom line. The video ends with a segment in which viewers are urged to take their medication as directed by their doctors. Clearly the management of AstraZeneca hope that medication will be Crestor, AstraZeneca’s cholesterol reduction medication.

Judging by the comments that accompanied the video, some of those who viewed it are medical students. One viewer put it this way:

“Explains it all!!
all 3 lectures im revising , 5 mins of this just explains it even better. top vid thank u sooo much. “

I think it safe to say that this is one student who now has a positive image of AstraZeneca. If he or she is a future doctor the video may make her more receptive to other AstraZeneca promotions.

So why include an advertising video in a non-commercial website? To put it another way, why would I give AstraZeneca free publicity?

When I started searching Youtube for videos depicting the mechanism behind most heart attacks I expected to find something produced by the American Heart Association or one of the leading university medical schools. I had hoped I might find something produced by the Mayo Clinic.

I found nothing of the sort. The best, the most scientifically accurate, video I found was the AstraZeneca video. As far as it goes the video reflects what we know about the process of atheromous plaque formation and the dangers of plaque rupture.

In short I chose to link to the AstraZeneca video because nothing better was available.

I want to make that clear. I have no quarrel with AstraZeneca. As a commercial enterprise they have every right to produce a promotional video. Unlike many promotional videos I have seen this one, as far as it goes, is scientifically accurate.

But it is a sad commentary on the medical profession that they leave the education of the public to a pharmaceutical company because, as it happens, there are problems with the video. It does not go far enough.

I shall return to the topic of how the medical profession has de facto outsourced certain aspects of the education of doctors to the pharmaceutical industry and the consequences that flow from this. Drug company sponsoships was the topic of a recent edition of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Health Report” program. The program featured an interview with Dr Jon Jureidini of Healthy Skepticism

I have a philosophical difference with Healthy Skepticism. I think it wrong to depict the pharmaceutical industry as the great villain. The nub of the problem is that the medical profession has abdicated its responsibility to educate both to its members and the general public.

In my next post I shall discuss some of the things the AstraZeneca video leaves out.

 

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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963