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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 2243

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

Loke TW, Koh FC, Ward JE.
Pharmaceutical advertisement claims in Australian medical publications.
Med J Aust 2002 Sep 16; 177:(6):291-3


OBJECTIVE: To determine the quality of claims in advertisements published in Australian medical publications, describe how benefits and harms are presented, and examine the level of underpinning evidence. DESIGN AND SETTING: Audit of a consecutive three-month sample of advertisements appearing in six popular Australian medical publications. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of advertisements with quantitative information; proportion of claims conveying clinical outcomes; where retrievable, level of underpinning evidence. RESULTS: Of 1504 claims, 855 could be substantiated quantitatively. Of these, 45% were supported by compelling evidence (randomised controlled trials or better). Of 13 claims explicitly reporting quantitative outcomes, none provided the absolute risk reduction or the number needed to treat. CONCLUSIONS: Our audit invites greater diligence by pharmaceutical companies in substantiating their claims and greater vigilance among clinicians when reading them.

Advertising* Australia Data Interpretation, Statistical Deception Disclosure* Drug Evaluation/statistics & numerical data* Drug Industry* Evidence-Based Medicine Humans Periodicals Risk Treatment Outcome content analysis Australia journal advertisements evidence absolute risk reduction number needed to treat EVALUATION OF PROMOTION: JOURNAL ADVERTISEMENTS PROMOTIONAL TECHNIQUES: JOURNAL ADVERTISEMENTS


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Email a Friend 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.