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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 2992

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

Frisof KB, Parnicky K.
The burden of junk mail
New England Journal of Medicine 1979; 300:865-866


Abstract:

In December 1978, the two authors received, unsolicited, 71 issues of 40 different publications. 50% of a total of 4396 pages were advertisements. The cost of these publications to the drug industry is about $7.8 million per month. These costs are ultimately borne by patients. Doctors should request removal from mailing lists of publications they don’t read.

Keywords:
*letter to the editor/United States/direct mail/journal advertisements/promotion costs and volume/consumer drug prices/doctors/attitude toward promotion/ATTITUDES REGARDING PROMOTION: HEALTH PROFESSIONALS/EVALUATION OF PROMOTION: DIRECT MAIL/INFLUENCE OF PROMOTION: CONSUMER DRUG COSTS/VOLUME OF AND EXPENDITURE ON PROMOTION

 

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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