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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 15894

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

Chan J, Kliner M, Currie J.
Preserving objectivity in medical education
Lancet 2009 Jun 27; 373:(9682):2197
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)61186-7/fulltext


Abstract:

We would like to express our concern about the partnership between Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and Pfizer. 1 The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) report on the interactions between the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry 2 quotes one of Pfizer’s objectives as “improving… our reputation with future prescribers”. We believe that this is tantamount to drug marketing.
The BSMS-Pfizer partnership serves to blur the boundary between what is marketing and what is education. We …

 

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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