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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 6909

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: news

Mansfield P.
Debate: drug advertising
Australian Doctor 1999 Oct 864


Abstract:

Direct-to-consumer advertising is opposed by general practitioners around the world. The quality of information that would be in ads would be unreliable. DTCA diverts attention and resources away from many important conditions that are not sources of big profits for drug companies often towards conditions where drugs provide less benefit for money. Consumer organizations oppose DTCA since it is difficult to distinguish reliable from unreliable information. Finally, DTCA will drive up drug costs diverting resources from other areas.

Keywords:
*analysis/Australia/quality of information/DTCA/direct-to-consumer advertising/primary care doctors/profit motive/consumer groups/ consumer behaviour & knowledge/ATTITUDES REGARDING PROMOTION: CONSUMERS/PATIENTS/ATTITUDES REGARDING PROMOTION: HEALTH PROFESSIONALS/EVALUATION OF PROMOTION: DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER ADVERTISING/INFLUENCE OF PROMOTION: CONSUMERS AND PATIENTS/INFLUENCE OF PROMOTION: HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE/INFLUENCE OF PROMOTION: PRESCRIBING, DRUG USE

 

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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