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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 18766

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: Electronic Source

Schwitzer G
Industry-occupied medicine...somewhat like a Communist state
Health News Review Blog 2010 Oct 11
http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/2010/10/industry-occupied-medicinesomewhat-like-a-communist-state.html


Notes:

Please visit site for video interview with Healthy Skepticism founder, Peter Mansfield.


Full text:

That’s the way Dr. Peter Mansfield of the Healthy Skepticism, Inc. organization – run out of his home in Australia – describes the status quo.

Mansfield, just one of the planners for last week’s international “Selling Sickness” conference in Amsterdam, is a soft-spoken man who has carried a big stick at times in his 25+ years of railing against drug industry practices. His main aim for Healthy Skepticism, Inc.: “to improve health by reducing harm from misleading health information.” His first encounter: as a medical student in the ’80s complaining to Bayer about a “tonic for stress” marketed in Pakistan “which was essentially a light beer with arsenic and strychnine. We actually got a dozen products withdrawn in the ’80s.” All on a budget of about $100-200 USD.

In a portion of an interview I conducted with him in Amsterdam, Mansfield discussed troublesome drug advertising and promotion and “industry-occupied medicine” somewhat akin to a Communist state with people afraid to speak out.

The “Selling Sickness” conference was hosted by the Dutch Institute for Rational Use of Medicine, whose own “healthy skepticism” initiative is called “Gezonde scepsis.” Congratulations to Sandra van Nuland, Project manager, Gezonde scepsis, for her work on the event.

In the days (I hope it doesn’t take weeks) to come, I will be posting other video interviews from the “Selling Sickness” conference. Stay tuned.

 

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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