Healthy Skepticism
Join us to help reduce harm from misleading health information.
Increase font size   Decrease font size   Print-friendly view   Print
Register Log in

Healthy Skepticism Library item: 6419

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

Hingston C.
Drug promotional sweets prompt a sour reaction
Australian Doctor 2006 Oct 26;

Full text:

Drug promotional sweets prompt a sour reaction 25-Oct-2006

By Chris Hingston

THE supply of free jelly beans to GPs’ surgeries could be in jeopardy after concerns were raised about one pharmaceutical company’s promotion of an antidepressant through sweets packaged in the drug’s logo and colours.

Wyeth’s promotion of Efexor through similarly packaged sweets was inappropriate, pharmaceutical industry watchdog Healthy Skepticism alleged on its AdWatch web site.

The sweets promoted the drug to children in a similar way to the promotion of smoking through candy cigarettes, the web site claimed.

Child psychiatrist and Healthy Skepticism chairman Dr Jon Jureidini said the sweets “trivialised the issue of someone going on quite serious medication”.

“I don’t think a kid who picks this up is going to want to take antidepressants, but it sends a message that there’s something kind of nice about it – like taking ‘happy pills’,” he told Australian Doctor.

Healthy Skepticism claimed the sweets had been distributed to doctors’ surgeries and medical conferences around Australia and it was likely many of them had been eaten by child patients or children of staff.

Wyeth said they were “phasing out brand-name reminder items” such as the Efexor jelly beans in the lead-up to the new Medicines Australia code of conduct, but rejected Healthy Skepticism’s linking of lollies with “issues such as antidepressant efficacy, suicide risk, and cigarette promotion to children”.

“We acknowledge that a doctor might give a child a jelly bean during a visit for a vaccination, for example,” a spokeswoman said. “However, Wyeth does not view this as constituting untoward promotion.”

Chairwoman of the AMA ethics and medicolegal committee Dr Rosanna Capolingua dismissed the lollies as a “trivial marketing gimmick”.

“Promotions like this do not affect prescribing choices – a doctor will choose the drug best suited for the patient,” she said.


  Healthy Skepticism on RSS   Healthy Skepticism on Facebook   Healthy Skepticism on Twitter

Click to Register

(read more)

Click to Log in
for free access to more features of this website.

Forgot your username or password?

You are invited to
apply for membership
of Healthy Skepticism,
if you support our aims.

Pay a subscription

Support our work with a donation

Buy Healthy Skepticism T Shirts

If there is something you don't like, please tell us. If you like our work, please tell others.

Email a Friend

You are going to have many difficulties. The smokers will not like your message. The tobacco interests will be vigorously opposed. The media and the government will be loath to support these findings. But you have one factor in your favour. What you have going for you is that you are right.
- Evarts Graham
When truth is unwelcome: the first reports on smoking and lung cancer.