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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 19912

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

Margo J
APMA withdraws news release
The Sydney Morning Herald 1989 Oct 307

Full text:

The Australian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) has withdrawn its announcement that one of its members resigned rather than accepts sanctions for breaching its code of conduct.

Last Wednesday, the APMA issued a news release saying: “The decision by Smith Kline & French Australia Pty Ltd (SKF) to resign from the APMA, rather than undertake the actions required of them for breaching the APMA’s Code of Conduct, is an inappropriate response to the decision reached by its peers.

“For the last seven months, the APMA committee has reviewed a series of complaints from the medical profession and the Department of Community Service and Health about Smith Kline’s promotion of their hepatitis B vaccine. The review process has been through and lengthy, due in part to delays by the company in responding to questions of clarification sought by the committee.

SKF’s promotion to schools suggesting the vaccinations of all pupils was found in breach of the APMA’s code of conduct, and last week the APMA Committee directed SKF to contact those schools who had received SKF promotion.

“The response from the company was a letter resigning from the APMA and criticising the code administration”.

The news release went on to say the APMA remained committed to its code of conduct. On Friday night the APMA withdrew the news release.

Yesterday, Mr Ken Windle, chairman of the APMA said the whole release had been withdrawn, and that as the matte “was now subject to legal interest” he could not comment further.

However, the Herald understands SKF has not withdrawn its resignation from the APMA

Additional Note News of SKF withdrawal of its resignation from the APMA was made to the public on the 10 Nov 1989*


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909