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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 2987

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

Chapman S.
Advertising and psychotropic drugs: the place of myth in ideological reproduction.
Soc Sci Med [Med Psychol Med Sociol] 1979 Nov; 13A:(6):751-64


Advertising as a form of mass communication emanating from established capitalist enterprise, reproduces ideology conducive to the preservation of the social order that sustains that enterprise. Using selected advertising of psychotropic drugs from Australian medical journals as case studies, three main areas in which ideological statements are made are examined. These are: doctors and doctoring, patients and notions of mental illness, and the psychotropic drugs often used in mediation between the two. The supportive argument used is that imagery used in advertising is essentially mythical. A framework for decoding meaning in advertising is provided.

*analysis/Australia/journal advertisements/psychotropic drugs/images in ads/myth/EVALUATION OF PROMOTION: JOURNAL ADVERTISEMENTS/IMAGES IN PROMOTION: MYTH/PROMOTION IN SPECIFIC THERAPEUTIC AREAS: PSYCHIATRIC DISEASES Advertising*/standards Australia Drug Industry/methods* Drug Industry/standards Humans Periodicals/standards Physicians/psychology* Psychology Psychotropic Drugs*


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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