Health News Review
  • Jan 18 2011

    Marketing of genetic tests – the next wave of overmedicalization?

    …mful products. In Britain a government advisory body recently released a set of principles that it hopes will be taken up as a voluntary code of practice–a pusillanimous response already criticised as helping facilitate marketing rather than ensure proper regulation. Meanwhile the not for profit group GeneWatch UK warns that genetic tests may be used to sell unnecessary preventive drugs to healthy people and suggests that the tests be restr…

  • Aug 13 2007

    Under the influence of drug marketing

    The Los Angeles Times last week published a series of articles on drug marketing. Excerpts: “In a nation that consumed $279-billion worth of prescription medications in 2006 – spending 80% of that on brand name drugs – their efforts appear to be paying off. Americans filling a prescription choose brand-name products 37% of the time, even though three quarters of all prescription drugs in the U.S. are available in cheaper ge…

  • Mar 9 2011

    Pharma Marketing Blog says Pfizer/Amgen have lame arthritis campaign

    John Mack’s Pharma Marketing Blog is always an entertaining and informative read. Last week he posted what he stressed was NOT an attack on pro golfer Phil Mickelson. Mack explained he’d already done that – back last August when he asked, “Is Phil Mickelson Shilling for Enbrel?” and in another post just a few weeks ago. This time, Mack criticized: “the ‘non-branded’ disease awareness campaign j…

  • Sep 11 2012

    A couple of gems from AP and Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

    Runaway medical marketing is the theme of two unrelated pieces this week by two different news sources.  A joint project of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and MedPage Today offers a followup look at “What happened to the poster children of OxyContin?”  Excerpt: “Purdue Pharma’s aggressive marketing of OxyContin in the late 1990s marked the beginning of the industry’s push of narcotic painkillers to treat long-term …

  • Feb 27 2008

    Drug Trials Should Not Be Done for Marketing Purposes Only

    …eer-reviewed medical journal is not expected for months, and the first public presentation of the study’s findings in a medical setting will not occur before late March 2008. Lesson 1: Drug Trials Should Not Be Done for Marketing Purposes Only Lesson 2: The News Media Must Be Sure to Get the Facts Straight. Errors in Reporting Can Cause Serious Damage, and Patients May Be Harmed or Become Distressed From the Resulting Confusion Lesson 3: Le…

  • Jul 12 2012

    Marketing and politicizing menopause

    The Associated Press reported this week on the marketing of a new line of menopause products – “a line of products that target 50 million American women who are or will soon go through menopause. Priced between $3.99 and $7.99, the line includes lubricant for vaginal dryness, panty freshener stickers and feminine wash for odor and cooling towelettes and roll-on gel for women having hot flashes.” Excerpt: Feminine washes are usu…

  • Dec 30 2009

    Critical coverage of fast-food chains’ weight loss marketing campaigns

    If you’ve had a TV on at all in the past week, you’ve probably seen the new Taco Bell commercial with the woman claiming to have lost 54 pounds on her Taco Bell “drive-thru diet.” An ABCNews.com story did a good job taking a critical look at campaigns like this one or its forerunner – the guy who claims to have lost a lot of weight on a Subway sandwich diet. Excerpts: “But dieticians are on the fence abou…

  • Feb 6 2010

    Trends in hospital marketing – as seen in Akron

    The Akron Beacon Journal reports: Akron General Health System recently began advertising up-to-the-minute wait times for its emergency rooms on billboards throughout town. Six digital billboards in Akron are automatically updated every 20 minutes to show current average wait times to see a doctor at the main ER in downtown Akron and in satellite ERs in the Montrose area and Stow. The same info is on the hospital system’s website: …

  • Jul 14 2006

    Consumer-driven Health Care Marketing Disguised As News

    The Star Tribune bought a UnitedHealth Group news release hook, line and sinker this week. United announced the findings of a three-year study of “consumer-driven health care plans.” It reported “that the cost to employers per member in a high-deductible plan declined 3 to 5 percent, while increasing 8 to 10 percent for others.” The paper provided no details of the group surveyed. How old were they? How well-educated w…

  • May 16 2012

    The marketing of anemia drugs – a story we shouldn’t forget

    In an opinion piece on TheScientist.com, Daniel W. Coyne writes, “Amgen’s incomplete report on an early major trial of epoetin misled the medical community about the anemia drug’s risks and benefits—and helped make Amgen rich.” In the book, “How We Do Harm,” Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, writes quite a bit about hemoglobin-building drugs.  He discusses: “the …




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