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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

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    -Robert Ehrlich, drug advertising executive.

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    Friday, September 29, 2006

    Tales from the Exhibit Hall: Speaking of the pharmaceutical industry, the exhibits at the Assembly have to be seen to be believed. They are living testaments to the excesses of advertising. Cameras are forbidden in the exhibit hall, however, so words will have to do.

    There is a huge O in one exhibit for a sleeping pill with a real live beautiful princess pretending to sleep in its curve.
    Kristi Yamaguchi was there to tell us why she and her family are immunized against influenza. (Shouldn't be basing the decision to immunize on evidence based medicine rather than celebrity endorsement?) The makers of new statin Crestor have a large display touting their GALAXY project, which they describe as a global research initiative to determine the importance of statins in improving cardiovascular disease and death. They have enlisted many top cardiologists, including those who are seen and heard in the media most often, such as Dr. Paul Ridker and Dr. Steven Nissen (who is not half as critical of statins as he is of NSAIDs) to participate. I think it's called Galaxy because it has all those cardiology stars on board.

    The Lunesta people have a huge set up that mimics sitting under a beautiful night sky. Doctors can sit there in comfortable chairs and watch a television advertisement for the drug.

    There are people dressed up as sandwiches, people dressed as arteries, and muscles, and even a pancreas. There are, of course, lots of free pens (not that there's anything wrong with that!) and lots of questionable information. I'm sure the exhibitors pay a pretty penny to have their exhibits at the Assembly. Those are the dollars that make the niceties of the conference possible.

    posted by Sydney on 9/29/2006 05:11:00 PM 6 comments


    Heya medpundit,

    Wow, your Annual Scientific Assembly sounds a lot more fun than ours :)

    We could maybe get (speaking of skaters) Josee Chouinard to talk about Hamburger Helper, but I don't think they're sponsoring.
    (my fellow Canuckis know the commercials)

    Seriously, I really didn't know how wild the exhibits can get. Here, we're paying 3 bucks for a can of pop at the ASA.

    Free stressball I got, shaped like an egg, is neat though.

    When I get my special "I am Canadian so please let me into the States" passport, I'll come to one of your ASAs.

    Y'know, as a cultural anthropology thing.

    (Before the Stanford Rules take effect ... I like free pens)



    By Anonymous drncc, at 11:39 PM  

    This reminds me of the excesses of the late 90's in the IT industry. Pharma is going to loose almost $40B in branded drugs sales in the next couple of years. Merck, Squibb and the other American drug companies are finding their business models failing. Merck's senior management has made it clear they do not answer to a higher calling, their focus is on shareholder equity.

    Doctors are going to need to be even more keenly aware of the selling pressure being placed on them by the drug reps. Drug reps are being cut and the pressure on them to sell will become even greater. The information doctors receive will become even more biased and less useful.

    This bubble is about to burst.

    Steve Lucas

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:40 AM  

    Did "No Free Lunch" get to have a stand.... or were they barred like nearly happened last year!?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 AM  


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:59 AM  

    I keep wondering why they bar cameras? It's not like this was supposed to be theatre or a musical performance, in which protecting artistic property would be the issue. There can't be any concerns about national security or protecting patients' privacy. So why bar cameras, unless it's because someone would find it embarrassing to have the proceedings displayed to the public. And if the meeting organizers might be embarassed in this way, why did they put this kind of show on?

    By Blogger Roy M. Poses MD, at 6:03 PM  

    I suspect they barred cameras to hide their shame.

    I didn't see No Free Lunch, but I didn't spend a lot of time in the exhibit hall, either. I didn't think to look them up, though I do remember the controversy from last year.

    By Blogger sydney, at 8:09 AM  

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