“We do ourselves a disservice when diagnoses as wildly different as a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (a brain tumour that is virtually 100% fatal) and prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (a prostate condition more likely to make you pee frequently than to kill you) are both described as cancer.”
Overweight teenagers in America are now undergoing laparoscopic gastric band surgery, a weight-loss procedure that isn’t even approved for anyone under 18 years old. But one California study last year found that gastric band operations for patients as young as 13 had increased seven-fold over the previous five years.
In gastric band surgery, an inflatable silicon ring is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach, which makes people feel full sooner and reduces the amount they eat. And there’s big money in those little rings. Allergan, the company that manufactures the Lap-Band® device, has estimated that sales of its obesity intervention products will top $240 million in 2011. Continue reading →
Although Jeanne Lenzer’sarticle about stealth marketing in Reporting On Health is actually meant for other journalists, it reminds me that we consumers should all be more savvy when it comes to evaluating medical news. Before my own heart attack, for example, I pretty well swallowed any medical miracle breakthrough news without question.
But because I now take a fistful of powerful cardiac medications everyday, I have become gradually both aware of and alarmed by Big Pharma marketing, and especially about what Dr. Marcia Angell herself (for over 20 years the Editor-in-Chief at the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine) calls “… its pervasive conflicts of interest that corrupt the medical profession.”
In fact, I have absolutely no way of knowing which of my cardiac meds were prescribed for me based on flawed research or tainted medical journal articles that were funded and ghostwritten by the very drug companies who stand to gain by paying for positive outcomes. And, worse, neither do my doctors. This is allowed to happen in part because of what we now know as “stealth marketing“.