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Healthy Skepticism Updates

Update 2009-05-06

Healthy Skepticism Update May - June 2009

Recently posted in Healthy Skepticism International News ...

June 2009 Vol 27 No 6
Beyond the JAMA “Flap” (.pdf 255 Kb)

by Laura Boylan

A hot debate is going on about the Journal of the American Medical Association’s response to failure to disclose conflict of interest by Robert Robinson, the first author of a trial of escitalopram vs. problem solving therapy vs. placebo to prevent post stroke depression. This issue of Healthy Skepticism International News goes beyond that debate to present a time line of key events in the history of that trial.

May 2009 Vol 27 No 5
Proposal for an internet database of phamaceutical advertisements (.pdf 985 Kb)
by Staffan Svensson

"Consumers in one country are therefore often unaware of what goes on elsewhere, so the whole intellectual process of assessing the ads has to be started anew in each place. A system for making information about ads easily available could reduce such duplication of efforts and faciliate ad surveillance."

 In other news ...

"Positioning Detrol (creating a disease)" has been gaining attention since it was uploaded to the Healthy Skepticism gallery by a member recently.  This presentation by Pharmacia to the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group in 2002 outlines the strategies used to convert a "niche product into a Mass Marketing Opportunity". You can view it at:


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Next Update: Update 2009-08-12

Previous Update: Update 2009-04-24

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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