Magazine article Marketing

US-Style Patient Power Gould Give a Better Britain

Magazine article Marketing

US-Style Patient Power Gould Give a Better Britain

Article excerpt

I don't suppose you happened to read Issue Number 9107, Volume 351 of The Lancet last month? Probably not. That fine medical journal is not, it must be admitted, everybody's cup of tea or even everybody's ampoule of ampicillin. More like a couple of Temazapam tablets for most people, I would guess.

But the editorial in Issue Number 9107 (Volume 351, remember) would have blown your socks off. Instead of whingeing about the iniquities of pharmaceutical marketing and the huge sums of money thereby wasted, as most medical authorities do, it was a hymn of praise to advertising. And not just to professional advertising, of the kind that swells The Lancet's coffers. The very opposite in fact.

The editorial was a hymn of praise to the consumer advertising of pharmaceutical drugs. The kind of advertising that is currently illegal in Britain. The kind of advertising which would probably deplete The Lancet's coffers, because it would switch money from professional magazines to consumer publications. The Lancet editorial, in brief, put forward an argument it believed to be in the public interest, even though it might be to its own detriment. Not a lot of publications do that.

In the US, The Lancet pointed out, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) some time ago relaxed the rules forbidding prescription drug advertising in consumer media. Last August, this relaxation was extended to television and radio. So it is now permissable to advertise pharmaceuticals in all the main media over there. …

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