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  1. 1

    Jon Hunt

    Melissa, a little off the subject, but you may wish to look into more subtle ways pharmaceutical companies manipulate the medical profession. I have in my hot little hand an “adventorial” which is a regular handout with the RACGP monthly journal.

    Without reading the front cover carefully one would think it was legitimate educational handout, sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. It’s referring to managing the pain of osteoporosis, and along the way they suggest if paracetamol isn’t good enough one should go for a long acting opioid, specifically “Norspan” which is a buprenorphine patch. I don’t know about you but I would think twice about giving a buprenorphine patch to an 86year old lady, which is what they suggested. If you look at the AMH (admitedly mine is the 2007 edition) it recommends seeking specialist advice before prescribing these patches because they are not without some problems.

    There are other similar instances, such as a regular drug company sponsored “educational” CD whose recommendations I soon realised differed from other more independent sources. These days I just chuck them out.

    The problem with these is that they are presented by “experts” and it is not immediately obvious their opinions and recommendations are somewhat biased towards a particular product.

  2. 2

    Jon Hunt

    Better make that osteoarthritis.

  3. 3

    Ian Chalmers, Medicines Australia


    Your interesting article does not articulate the important distinction between pharmaceutical companies which are members of Medicines Australia and those which are not.

    The sort of activity described above would be absolutely prohibited by the strict Medicines Australia Code of Conduct. Under the Code, lavish hospitality is banned, personal gifts to healthcare professionals are banned, and entertainment is banned.

    The Code further states, very clearly, that any hospitality provided by companies, either directly or by sponsorship, or assistance to the organisers of educational meetings, must be secondary to the educational purpose.

    The point here is that while marketing and promotional activity undertaken by Medicines Australia members must adhere to a rigorous Code of Conduct – and appropriately so – non-members have no such restriction placed upon them.

    I see no reason why appropriate standards of conduct should not be enforceable for all [itals] pharmaceutical companies – not just those who belong to Medicines Australia.

    Ian chalmers
    Medicines Australia


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