3_Selling Sickness - Moynihan (1)

3_Selling Sickness - Moynihan (1) - Education and debate...

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convince the “specialist market” that the condition is a “serious and credible disease.” For general practitioners, In Vivo recommends a series of advertorials in leading medical magazines, featuring interviews with members of the company’s advisory board, because “The imprimatur of [board] members is invaluable in reassuring [general practi- tioners] . . . that the material they receive is clinically valid.” Other groups to be targeted with promotional material include pharmacists, nurses, patients, and a medical foundation described as already having a “close relationship” with In Vivo. A “patient support programme” is also planned for 2002-3, so that Glaxo- SmithKline will “reap the loyalty dividend when the competitor drug kicks in.” Medical education or marketing? Although billed as a medical education plan, the document is clearly part of the Lotronex marketing strategy. One clause explicitly stipulates that all publi- cations and manuscripts must be approved by the drug company’s marketing, medical, and legal depart- ments. The document also makes clear the media’s role in changing public perceptions about irritable bowel syndrome, stating that “PR [public relations] and media activities are crucial to a well-rounded campaign particularly in the area of consumer awareness.’’ Whatever the integrity or competence of the pro- fessionals or consumer advocates involved, and without seeking to minimise the importance of the disorder for some individuals, this plan shows that
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