About The Nag

It all began after I had a heart attack.

I launched a blog called Heart Sisters about women and heart disease – which is our #1 killer. This site has turned into a kind of cardiac rehab therapy for my brain, and a perfect vehicle to take advantage of the avalanche of cardiology updates, heart institute bulletins and breaking health news reports that I receive daily. I wrote a book based on my blog articles called “A Woman’s Guide to Living .ith Heart Disease” (Johns Hopkins University Press).

One fine day, however, I read in one of my news feeds that the New York Times and the journal Public Library of Science Medicine had succeeded in their freedom of information application to get 1,500 court documents released exposing Big Pharma’s latest medical ghostwriting scandal.

The scope of this longstanding medical research fraud was staggering.

I was gobsmacked!

As a heart attack survivor who takes a fistful of prescribed cardiac meds each morning, I suddenly realized that I have no clue which of these drugs has been prescribed for me and millions of other heart patients based on flawed industry-funded research or tainted medical journal articles.

And worse, neither do my doctors.

Physicians read and trust these journals, and actually change their prescribing habits because of them.

I knew that patients need to know about this.  Any person who has ever filled a doctor’s prescription for any drug – or bought headache pills over the counter – needs to know about this. I wanted to write about this medical ghostwriting scandal, about physicians and researchers fraudulently claiming to be the authors of  medical journal articles that had actually been commissioned by drug companies, about how industry has succeeded in not only influencing doctors’ to support their corporate sales targets, but has been able to change the very definition of what disease is.

To address this sudden shifting of gears, I figured I’d better clearly divide these two important subjects, and thus was born The Ethical Nag: Marketing Ethics for the Easily Swayed.

Although my primary interest is in medical research and Big Pharma marketing issues, my 30+ years in journalism, marketing and public relations (including corporate, government and non-profit PR) can’t help but inform my P.R. take on emerging issues, marketing strategies, as well as corporate whistleblowing cases. 

I can smell a spin a mile away, so I may also throw in unethical examples of bald-faced lies, embroidered truths, or just downright weird sociological issues when I happen upon them. And did I mention the good, the bad and the ugly of social media?

As a proud Canadian here on the beautiful West Coast, I’m particularly interested in Canadian issues, but corporate marketers everywhere are smart – we have to learn to outsmart them.




Carolyn Thomas

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


PS: And one more thing: please read the required fine print and my fascinating disclaimer.


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