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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 15870

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

Pharma targeted by students
Pharmacy Daily (Australia) - registration required 2009 Jun 22
http://www.pharmacydaily.com.au


Full text:

A NEW campaign run by medical students across Australia has been launched, aiming to “raise awareness of the effect that pharmaceutical marketing strategies have on prescribing habits.”

Dubbed ‘PharmaPhacts’, the initiative will be officially announced at the Australian Medical Students Association 2009 Global Health Conference to be held in Brisbane next month.

PharmaPhacts is a branch of lobby group Healthy Skepticism and claims to have advocates at each of the 19 medical schools across the country.

The campaign will comprise a website containing a review of the medical literature and other
information, as well as a petition for students to sign up to “pledging not to accept gifts, promotional material and funding from pharmaceutical companies now and into the future.”

PharmaPhacts spokesman, James Ricciardone, said the group’s current main aims are “to raise awareness and fill the gap of knowledge about the effects of pharmaceutical marketing”.

He’s soliciting donations from “like-minded individuals” to help fund the resources and other
materials for the campaign – info pharmaphacts@healthyskepticism.org.

 

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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963