When I used to teach public relations classes on things like Reputation Management or Crisis Communications, I taught the old PR maxim about “depositing in the bank of goodwill” out there. Simply put, the better you or your organization are at honourable citizenship on a day-to-day basis, the more public goodwill you’ll build up in this account, and the more others will be wiling to trust you.
And vice versa: the more slimy your ongoing behaviour, the less you can realistically expect anybody to trust you. Yes, even when you are telling the truth.
The good news is that, when your balance in the bank of goodwill is healthy, your chances of that trust remaining stable even if you do something bad are improved. So if you should need to make a “withdrawal” one day when a crisis hits, you’ll have the social capital of public trust nicely tucked away in that bank.
It’s also why Phillip Ball – the London-based science journalist, former editor of Nature, and the author of Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything – is taking aim at Big Pharma, and particularly at British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Continue reading →
According to a recent study in The American Journal of Managed Care, nearly 97% of Nurse Practitioners (NPs) now prescribe medications, and each one of these writes, on average, between 19-25 prescriptions each day. That’s about 6,200 prescriptions per NP prescriber per year. In addition, Physician Assistants (PAs) are writing more than 250,000,000 prescriptions each year.* In total, these health care providers are responsible for a significant whack of drug prescriptions each year.
That’s why organizers of the annual Maximizing Relationships with Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Summit provide a platform for the pharmaceutical industry to build cozy relationships with all of these NPs & PAs. Here’s what the summit’s pitch promised: Continue reading →
It’s 2003. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry accepts a $1 million donation from Coca-Cola. That same year, the group announces that “scientific evidence is certainly not clear on the exact role that soft drinks play in terms of children’s oral disease.” This statement, according to a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, directly contradicts the AAPD’s previous stance: “Consumption of sugars in any beverage can be a significant factor that contributes to the initiation and progression of dental caries.”
Yes, I guess it could be purely coincidental that the AAPD decided to contradict what every parent with even a tiny shred of common sense already knows – at the very same time they’ve just inked the $1 million Coca-Cola deal.
Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device maker, hit the motherlode with a bioengineered bone growth protein widely used since 2002 in spinal fusion surgery. Known as INFUSE® Bone Graft, it’s a genetically engineered version of a protein that’s naturally released by the body and used during surgery to stimulate bone growth – for example, in order to strengthen the lower spine by fusing two adjacent vertebrae together.
But Medtronic forgot to mention that many of its favourable studies published about INFUSE had been drafted and edited by its own employees (including marketing department staff, in a practice calledmedical ghostwriting) while 13 physicians claiming to be the study authors had been paid $210 million by Medtronic over a 15-year period, according to a U.S. Senate investigation. Continue reading →
As merely a dull-witted heart attack survivor with a relatively recent interest in scientific research (and only because it can influence how my doctor and yours practice medicine), I like to think that university researchers are a noble lot. But in an essay called The Dawn of McScience, Dr. Richard Horton delivers a surprising indictment of academic research.
In his New York Review of Books column about the book called Science in the Private Interest, he cites its author Dr. Sheldon Krimsky of Tufts University School of Medicine, who lumps universities in with industry like so:
“Universities have become little more than instruments of wealth.
“This shift in the mission of academia works against the public interest. Universities have sacrificed their larger social responsibilities to accommodate a new purpose – the privatization of knowledge – by engaging in multimillion-dollar contracts with industries that demand the rights to negotiate licenses from any subsequent discovery.” Continue reading →
Every prescription drug (or over-the-counter medication) in your bathroom cabinet is there because it’s been evaluated in research called a clinical trial. For a basic introduction to clinical trials, let’s turn to former editor-in-chief of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell, who wrote the following in her frightening landmark piece called “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption” (New York Review of Books, 1/15/2009):
“Before a new drug can enter the market, its manufacturer must sponsor clinical trials to show the Food and Drug Administration that the drug is safe and effective, usually as compared with a placebo or dummy pill.
“The results of all the trials (there may be many) are submitted to the FDA, and if one or two trials are positive – that is, they show effectiveness without serious risk – the drug is usually approved, even if all the other trials are negative.”