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Healthy Skepticism Updates

Update 2008-03-16

Recent Publications

Healthy Skepticism members have hit the ground running in 2008 with journal publications covering nurses and the pharmaceutical industry, the regulation of complementary medicines, advertisements in clinical software, and pharmaceutical promotion expenditures in the US, amongst other things.



Two editions of Healthy Skepticism International News have also been published on the web-site, one responding to misinformation about the HPV vaccine in Canada and the other to a meta-analysis published last year in JAMA of the studies of antidepressants in children. If you haven’t yet caught up with these, they can all be accessed via: http://healthyskepticism.org/new.php



Director’s speaking tour

Preparations are well underway for the tour of Europe and North America by HS Director, Dr Peter Mansfield in April, May and June. He will be speaking in numerous cities and covering various aspects of the influence of pharmaceutical promotion on healthcare. Once the details have been finalised, we will let subscribers know, so that you can organise to attend one of these meetings if you have the opportunity.



Visit to Adelaide by Joel Lexchin

Healthy Skepticism is an international organisation but it is based in Adelaide, in South Australia. Members of the management group conduct most business by email, so we are very pleased when we are able to see them in person. One member, Dr Joel Lexchin, is visiting Adelaide on sabbatical currently. Joel is a lecturer in health policy and management at York University, Toronto and an emergency physician. We look forward to working with him more closely over the next few months.



Vale Barbara Seaman

Barbara Seaman, 72, journalist, activist and HS member, died on Feb. 27 at her home in Manhattan.

Barbara had worked hard on pharmaceutical safety issues ever since the early days of the contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy. Her main concern was that women have access to more information with which to make their own decisions. She was the author of several influential books and co-founder of the National Women’s Health Network in Washington, DC.

For a copy of the Washington Post obituary for Barbara see:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.obituaries/browse_thread/thread/cb6adfc8c92d4b76/9edf7067bfbf996d



US Physician Payments Sunshine Act

In the US Congress last week, the House counterpart to the Senate Physician Payments Sunshine Act was introduced. Both House and Senate bills would require pharmaceutical and medical device companies to disclose gifts and payments to doctors. The Prescription Project is coordinating a national coalition to support these measures. US-based groups and individuals are invited to join. For more detail, please visit:

http://prescriptionproject.org/newscenter?id=0049

http://www.prescriptionproject.org/assets/pdfs/APC_invite_RxP.pdf



Maintaining the HS Library

The HS Library is an important database of articles relevant to drug promotion, accessed over a million times per year by people from all around the world. However, it requires quite a bit of work to keep it up-to-date. At present we are seeking more volunteers for “media monitoring”, and would like to increase our coverage of non-English sources. If you think you could help with this work, or would like to make a donation to help keep the library going, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Many thanks to those who already send us articles of interest or have recently offered to help).

 

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Next Update: Update 2008-04-09

Previous Update: Update 2007-11-18

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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963