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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 582

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

Wolfe S.
Drug advertisements that go straight to the hippocampus.
Lancet 1996 Sep 7; 348:(9028):632

Keywords:
*analysis quality of prescribing source of information doctors regulation of promotion Food and Drug Administration FDA journal advertisements ETHICAL ISSUES IN PROMOTION: GIFT GIVING ETHICAL ISSUES IN PROMOTION: PAYMENT FOR MEALS, ACCOMODATION, TRAVEL, ENTERTAINMENT EVALUATION OF PROMOTION: JOURNAL ADVERTISEMENTS INFLUENCE OF PROMOTION: PRESCRIBING, DRUG USE PROMOTION DISGUISED: CLINICAL TRIALS PROMOTION DISGUISED: CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS PROMOTION DISGUISED: GHOST-WRITING AND JOURNAL ARTICLES PROMOTION DISGUISED: SUPPORT FOR CME REGULATION, CODES, GUIDELINES: COMPLIANCE, SANCTIONS, STANDARDS REGULATION, CODES, GUIDELINES: DIRECT GOVERNMENT REGULATION REGULATION, CODES, GUIDELINES: HEALTH PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS REGULATION, CODES, GUIDELINES: INDUSTRY SELF-REGULATION


Notes:

Advertisements are now appearing in marketing oriented journals from companies selling marketing services that promise to produce communications that “are focused on making the hippocampus . . . the prescription-writing center of the [doctor’s] brain . . . respond positively to your product.” Perhaps this process accounts for the poor prescribing of many physicians which is linked to drug industry spending on promotion. Physicians should support efforts by relevant agencies to police drug advertising. There is potential lack of compliance with Food and Drug Administration regulations on drug advertising 92% of advertisements.

 

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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