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Re: E-DRUG: Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medicines

E-DRUG: Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medicines

The evidence shows that "direct-to-doctor" promotion is frequently
misleading and harmful. (See www.camtech.net.au/malam Bibliography and
Special Reports sections for the evidence.) 

I  suspect that one of the main causes of misleading promotion is
groupthink within drug companies ie psychological processes lead drug
company staff come to beliefs about their drugs which are not true. 
Consequently they are not capable of providing reliable information about
their products.  Daniel Goleman's book - Vital lies, simple truths: the
psychology of self-deception (Boomsbury. London 1997) provides an excellent
summary of what is known about groupthink.  Goleman suggests that
groupthink errors made by business people are usually corrected by market
forces.  Drug promotion is an exception because doctors are very vulnerable
to being misled about drugs for many reasons including spontaneous
recovery and the placebo effect as well as doctors' over-confidence and
other understandable human limitations.

It is likely that many members of the general public are even more
vulnerable to misleading promotion than doctors.  Unless companies can
demonstrate a capacity to provide reliable information, D-T-C promotion
will do far more harm than good.

Dr Peter Mansfield
Director, MaLAM

MaLAM encourages pharmaceutical companies to provide more reliable
information to assist appropriate health care.

MaLAM Headquarters
PO Box 172, Daw Pk SA 5041, Australia
phone/fax +61 8 8374 2245

> From: David Gilbert <cndgilb@kehf.org.uk>
> To: e-drug@usa.healthnet.org
> Subject: E-DRUG: Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medicines
> Date: Saturday, 16 May 1998 1:29
> *************************************
> E-DRUG- Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medicines
> Dear Colleagues

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