Selling Sickness and Pharmed Out

As more people become aware of the dark-side of the pharmaceutical industry’s efforts to market their products, an extraordinary series of conferences have been taking place to address to the troubling issue. Most recently, Selling Sickness 2013: People before Profits, brought together more than 225 scholars, healthcare reformers, consumer/patient advocates, journalists, attorneys, and public health officials from around the world to Washington this February.

Conference organizers Leonore Tiefer and Kim Witczak launched the series in 2006 with an inaugural event in Australia, Disease-Mongering, followed by their Selling Sickness 2010 conference in Amsterdam.

If you haven’t been following this interesting initiative, you can visit the Selling Sickness website . Here, you will find all kinds of reference materials, speakers’ notes and slides, the conference(s) full program, materials on “Booktivism” (more to follow),  video interviews with authors, new issues outlined in the Call to Action, and even a behind-the-scenes video.

Additional efforts are underway to investigate pharma’s influence over our healthcare system. PharmedOut is a recent Georgetown University Medical Center project that advances evidence-based prescribing and educates healthcare providers about industry marketing practices.  Project director Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD moderated a panel on corruption at the recent Selling Sickness conference. Next, Georgetown University will host PharmedOut’s 4th annual CME conference “Medical Behavior in a Commercial World: Who Is Responsible?” on June 6-7, 2013.

PharmedOut’s past conferences have been highly acclaimed by participants, who tend to be physicians, policymakers, other professionals, and students in a range of disciplines and perspectives that don’t typically converge.  The full agenda, along with registration information, is available online.

Booktivism — Read. Discuss. Be thoughtful. Be committed.

Booktivism provides the public with more in-depth coverage of conference topics, especially the growing prevalence and consequences of overtreatment, over-screening, over-marketing, and over-diagnosis.

Promoting books as springboards to social change can help bring badly needed change to the way that healthcare is delivered in this country. Getting books into people’s hands and into book clubs in innovative ways allows authors to bring their arguments to a much wider audience.

Please visit the Selling Sickness website for more on Booktivism and the role that people in the community are playing to help spread the word.

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