Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Disease Mongering

"Driving the annual double-digit growth in the legal drug supply are a band of specialist "healthcare" PR companies working for behemoths such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Astra Zeneca. Heading the healthcare PR league table are Edelman, Ruder Finn and Chandler Chicco Agency in the US and Medical Action Communications, Shire Health Group and Meditech Media in the UK.

"Medical education" includes cultivating and deploying sponsored "key opinion leaders" such as doctors. Patient groups too can be created or wooed to assist with "disease awareness campaigns" or provide emotionally charged testimony in favor of speedy regulatory approval of new drugs.

Other lucrative revenue streams for healthcare PR companies can include organizing events such as medical conferences that provide a platform for well-trained "product champions" to announce promising results of drug research. Such results can be reported by medical journalists--who can be hired by PR firms--in medical journals that they can create for their clients."