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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 19569

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

Godlee F
Who should define disease?
BMJ 2011 May 11; 342:
http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d2974.extract


Abstract:

Last year an international panel of professional societies changed the definition of gestational diabetes. The blood glucose threshold for diagnosis was substantially lowered, more than doubling the number of women with the diagnosis. It will now encompass almost one in five pregnancies.

In his feature investigation this week (doi: 10.1136/bmj.d2548 ), Ray Moynihan highlights this as just the latest example of how the definitions of common conditions are being broadened, so much so that by some estimates, almost the entire adult population is now classified as having at least one chronic disease.

Mental illness is an area of particular concern, he says, where controversy already bubbles around the definitions of attention deficit disorder, autism, and bipolar disorder. …

 

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...to 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.