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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 6853

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

Glassman PA, Hunter-Hayes J, Nakamura T.
Pharmaceutical advertising revenue and physician organizations: how much is too much?
West J Med 1999 Oct; 171:(4):234-8
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=10578674


Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: To determine if revenue generated from pharmaceutical advertisements in medical journals creates potential financial conflicts of interest for nonprofit physician organizations that own those journals. DESIGN: Convenience sample of six professional medical societies and their respective journals. Calculation of pharmaceutical advertising revenue generated by these journals for their respective professional medical societies. METHODS: Random selection of each journal for one month per quarter in calendar year 1996 and tabulation per edition of the average number of pharmaceutical advertising pages for each journal. OUTCOME MEASURES: Published advertising rates were used to estimate pharmaceutical advertising revenue for calendar year 1996 and compared with each organization’s gross revenue and membership dues and assessments, based on Internal Revenue Service documents for the last available fiscal year (1995). RESULTS: Estimated pharmaceutical advertising revenue ranged from $715,000 to $18,630,000. Five organizations raised more than 10% of their gross income (range 2% to 30%) from a single journal’s pharmaceutical advertising. Four organizations raised as much or more from pharmaceutical advertising as from members (range 17% to 790%). CONCLUSIONS: Potential financial conflicts of interest arising from pharmaceutical advertisements in medical journals may be substantial. The impact on professional societies’ financial independence and behavior is unknown.

Keywords:
*analytic survey/United States/journal advertisements/ad revenue/conflict of interest/medical associations/promotion costs and volume/ relationship between medical profession and industry/ETHICAL ISSUES IN PROMOTION: LINKS BETWEEN HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND INDUSTRY/INFLUENCE OF PROMOTION: POLICIES OF MEDICAL ASSOCIATIONS/VOLUME OF AND EXPENDITURE ON PROMOTION Advertising* Drug Industry/economics* Humans Periodicals Physicians* Provider-Sponsored Organizations/economics*

 

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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