Big Pharma Still Advertising at Medical Conferences

I recently came across this interesting article. The quick summary is that although hospitals and medical schools are limiting how much doctors can come in contact with pharmaceutical advertising, the same advertising is still running rampant at medical conferences. I found this article personally intriguing because I will be leaving for Honolulu this week to attend the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting. The last meeting I went to was two years ago, and I recall the meeting being littered with advertising for various antipsychotics and antidepressants. I have already received advertising in the mail from various companies inviting me to their events at the meeting. The reason this is such a big deal is because the APA considers itself the “voice and conscience of modern psychiatry.” Quite a large undertaking.

The most laughable quote for me in the attached article is when Dr. Jack Lewin, chief executive of the American College of Cardiology, says, “I don’t buy a soft drink just because of the advertising… I buy it because I like it.” I find this quote to be so indicative of the cognitive dissonance that exists with doctors–advertising affects everyone else except for me. Advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry for good reason, because it works, on doctors and patients. The commercials on TV encourage patients to “ask your doctor if this medication is right for you,” which creates additional pressure on physicians to prescribe drugs that may not be the best choice. We’d like to think this is not the case, but I see examples of this on a daily basis.

Anyway, I’m very curious about the upcoming meeting. I have already taken a personal stance and stopped attending “educational” dinners sponsored by big pharma. Hopefully I won’t have to start boycotting the APA too.

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Explore posts in the same categories: General Mental Health, Psychiatry in the Media

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