Selling Sickness 2013

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH FLIBANSERIN

I (LT) have learned about the machinations of Sellling Sickness largely through decades of work as a sexologist examining and trying to limit the medicalization of sexuality. Flibanserin is a  serotonergic antidepressant proposed to help […]

Apr, 13 · in General

PRO PROPUBLICA

Investigative journalism is essential to the project of SELLING SICKNESS as we seek to understand disease-mongering and promote healthcare reform. PROPUBLICA, an online newsroom that produces journalism “in the public interest,” is becoming an important partner […]

Mar, 25 · in General

IS ALL THAT RAMBLING TOO CONFUSING?? FDA THINKS SO.

Are you tired of television ads for prescription drugs that warn of nausea, insomnia, diarrhea and suicidal thoughts? Well, I (KW) am and I’m not alone.   In my opinion, it’s crazy that direct-to-consumer marketing is […]

Mar, 15

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM CHINA, MAINE

The charmingly named China, Maine, is a small American town of about 5000 souls in the middle of a small northern state. None of us in the healthcare reform community would ever have heard of […]

Feb, 25

SLOW MEDICINE

Breathe in, 2, 3, 4. Hold it. Breathe out, 2, 3, 4. Generalize to the world! Over the past 3 decades, a spreading “Slow Movement” has been challenging the prevailing social tendency to cram as […]

Feb, 12

JUST SAY, “HOLD ON A MINUTE!”

The Choosing Wisely project, begun only in 2011, is really picking up speed. Dozens of medical specialty organizations have now contributed their lists of five interventions that should be questioned (e.g., do you really need pre-procedure […]

Jan, 31

ADHD GROWS UP

The number of people diagnosed with ADHD continues to skyrocket.  It can’t be explained on the basis of genetics or biology.  Rather it seems this increase in diagnosis is simply the result of Big Pharma […]

Jan, 21

IS THE TIDE TURNING?

As I (KW) reflect back on 2013, I am proud of the contributions Selling Sickness has made to the rapidly growing new social health reform movement. This was a breakout year for multidisciplinary conferences on […]

Dec, 31

SELLING SICKNESS AND RIGHT CARE

Kim and I (LT) attended the 2nd Lown Conference “From Avoidable Care to Right Care” in Boston last week. This event marked the end of a high water mark year for multidisciplinary conferences on overdiagnosis […]

Dec, 13

HORMONE HOAXES FOR LADIES AND GENTS

It’s not just women’s problem anymore. As a feminist, I (LT) have watched for decades the worrisome news about the safety of reproductive hormones for menopause symptoms, pre-menstrual complaints, and oral contraceptives. The history of the use and marketing of […]

Nov, 29

DR. LEANA WEN. REMEMBER THAT NAME!

Dr. Leana Sheryle Wen is all of 30 years old, but she is a speed demon of accomplishment and, if I may say, a beacon of light in our new selling sickness movement. Her two […]

Nov, 14

PARTNERSHIP LECTURE IN WASHINGTON

KW and LT presented a live-streamed “National Grand Rounds” on October 19, 2013 at the annual conference of the National Physicians Alliance in Washington titled Challenging the Selling of Sickness: A New Partnership Movement of Professionals and […]

Oct, 28

WE ARE NOT ANECDOTES; WE MATTER

I (KW) have been thinking lately about the importance of personal stories/narratives in our partnership work at Selling Sickness. It fits with one of the principles at the core of our partnership model – mutual […]

Oct, 13

COERCIVE WELLNESS

Penn State administrators recently introduced a new health plan requiring nonunion employees (faculty, clerical staff) to visit their doctors for an annual checkup, undergo several biometric tests (fasting lipid profile and fasting glucose (finger stick), […]

Sep, 27

MINDLESS

One of my favorite writers, Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker, this week takes on the excesses of neurobiological explanations in an essay called “Mindless.” He describes how neuroscience often merely restates the obvious in […]

Sep, 04

DOES “WHAT NOT TO WEAR” STAR KNOW WHAT SHE’S PROMOTING?

I (KW) have personally never been a fan of celebrity endorsements used by marketers to create brand awareness and association to increase sales.  It’s one thing to use celebrities and stylists to create a relationship […]

Aug, 24

“STRESSISM”

I (LT) have an international houseguest and am all stressed out about getting the WiFi working and finding three pronged plugs. It’s stressful to guess about the right stuff for breakfast and I’m already stressing […]

Aug, 06

NEWS FLASHES FOR HOT FLASHES

Menopause is back on the front burner for Big Pharma. A new campaign with full-age ads in the NYTimes promotes Novo-Nordisk’s hormonal products for hot flashes and  atrophic vaginas. Lots of interactive online checklists to print out […]

Jul, 18

A “MERRY BAND” OF ACTIVISTS FOR TRANSPARENCY

The Sunday Business Section of the NY Times recently featured a long story about the work of Peter Doshi, one of the exciting speakers at our Selling Sickness conference. You can view his talk on […]

Jul, 04

BIG DATA AND THE NUMERICAL IMAGINATION

The Business of Technology (BIT) staff at the New York Times produced a special section  a few days ago focusing on a half-dozen areas of growth involving “Big Data.” “The story is the same in […]

Jun, 24

“MEET “PROSUMPTION”

When you post something on FB, you are both a producer and a consumer. This is the heart of the notion of “prosumption,” a term introduced to me (LT) by Deborah Lupton, the Australian sociologist, […]

Jun, 08

1+1=3

This week the British Medical Journal published our editorial calling for a new social health movement to challenge the “Selling of Sickness.” The time has come for a movement using a partnership model that combines […]

May, 20

CALL TO ACTION ON SELLING SICKNESS GOES INTERACTIVE

Our Call to Action went live on April 22, 2013, and as of this moment, 2 weeks later, we have 278 individual endorsers from all over the world, with more signing every day. Our editorial […]

May, 08

WHO CAN WE TRUST?

A new study just published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine involving Canadian, US and French physicians shows that the majority of family doctors receive little or no information about a drug’s harmful side […]

Apr, 28

“YOUR VOICE, YOUR WISH” – A NEW MARKETING SCAM ABOUT WOMEN’S SEXUALITY

Following the FDA’s 2010 rejection of flibanserin, the ineffective and possibly dangerous CNS drug proposed for “female sexual dysfunction (FSD)” and the 2nd FSD drug to fail at the FDA, the International Society for the […]

Apr, 16

DSM-5 PETITIONS

Next month is the long-awaited debut of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM-V (now known as DSM-5, a change which is odd since even football […]

Apr, 03

CONFERENCES, CONFERENCES AND MORE CONFERENCES

Earlier this week I (KW) was invited to Washington to attend “Using Comparative Effectiveness Research to Improve Health Care” sponsored by Consumer Reports and National Research Center for Women and Families.  It brought together over […]

Mar, 24

FIRST ROAD TEST

I (LT) just gave a workshop about “Selling Sickness, 2013″ at the annual meeting of the Association for Women in Psychology (AWP), held this weekend in sunny Salt Lake City, Utah. A lively group turned […]

Mar, 09

WE DID IT! YOU DID IT! NEXT STEPS?

It seems self-serving to say that the Selling Sickness conference was a blockbuster, but it was. Attended by around 225 advocates, academics, journalists, health care providers, legislators, students, lawyers, librarians, writers From Russia, Finland, Germany, […]

Feb, 27

WHAT DO YOU CALL A PERSON WHO HAS A COMPULSION TO GET LYMPHOMA OVER AND OVER AGAIN?…. A LYMPHOMANIAC

OK, now, don’t get upset. The lymphomaniac joke is from a cancer patients’ website and this blog is about the uses of humor in activism. So take a deep breath and unbutton your mind a […]

Feb, 14

RESPONDING TO REPROACHES, REBUKES, AND REBUTTALS

Boldly challenging disease-mongering (DTCA, PhRMA, FDA, accountability, clinical guidelines, transparency, RCT, validity, misleading marketing, etc.) will inevitably produce angry and dismissive reactions and rebukes from pharmaceutical companies and others with vested interests in selling sickness. […]

Feb, 06

GOODBYE HEALTH, HELLO “HEALTH”

Anthropologist Joe Dumit has written one of the most important and radical (getting to the root) books about health, marketing, medical research, and the pharmaceutical industry in recent decades, Drugs for Life: How pharmaceutical companies […]

Jan, 31

GOOD GRIEF, YOU’RE NOT OVER IT YET?

I (K.W) can’t believe that it’s been 10 years since my funny young husband, Woody, died as a result of Zoloft-induced suicide.  It’s been a long journey learning to live with a new “normal.” Only […]

Jan, 25

CALL TO ACTION ON DISEASE MONGERING

From the outset of our planning, we wanted our conference to be part of a progressive and activist health movement. The previous Selling Sickness conferences (Australia, 2006; Amsterdam, 2010) brought together scholars who brilliantly unpacked […]

Jan, 17

Http://alltrials.net – WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN

A public petition went up on alltrials.net today asking for support (from anybody) for the demand to register all clinical trials for all medical treatments, past and present, and to make sure that the full […]

Jan, 10

HAPPY NEW YEAR

It’s hard to believe that our “Selling Sickness 2013: People Before Profits” conference is less than two months away. It seems like just yesterday that I (K.W.) attended the 2010 Selling Sickness conference in Amsterdam. […]

Jan, 03

THE PERVERSION OF CHOICE

Iona Heath, past president of the UK Royal College of General Practictitioners and an early supporter and advisor for our Selling Sickness conference, wrote a column in the 31 October 2009 BMJ titled: The Perversion […]

Dec, 25

MAKING THE CONFERENCE PROGRAM

Leonore flew out to Minneapolis this past weekend so she and Kim could sit at a big table with all the bits and pieces of program and finally put it all together. We’ve been speaking […]

Dec, 12

TIME TO BAN DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER DRUG MARKETING

This title comes from a 2007 editorial by Kurt Stange in the Annals of Family Medicine but the heartfelt sentiment comes from many, many reformers working in the field of healthcare. Read Stange’s review of the biases […]

Dec, 05

COLLECTIVE WISDOM

Earlier this month I (K.W.) attended the Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project summit at Consumer Reports headquarters in Yonkers, NY. Over 31 talented advocates from 17 states came to learn, network and share ideas about […]

Nov, 30

FEMINIST CRITICS OF SEXUOPHARMACEUTICALS ARE “FRIGID COLD FISH”

I got really excited today when Susan Davis, a Melbourne physician who has conducted umpteen clinical trials trying to find a testosterone treatment for women with sexual complaints that will work better than placebo (keep […]

Nov, 22

MEDICAL DEVICES UNDER SCRUTINY

Overtreatment, overmarketing, conflicts-of-interest and all the trappings of disease-mongering pertain not just to medical treatments, education, publishing, screening and drugs, but, increasingly, to medical devices, both the kind that are used IN the body and […]

Nov, 14

UNEXPECTED RECESS

It’s been a rough week in the Big Apple. I’ve lived in New York City most of my life, through hurricanes and blizzards, terrorist attacks and tourist invasions, not to mention regular teacher/sanitation/transportation/newspaper union strikes, […]

Nov, 07

DEPRESCRIBING

A pillar of future professional and lay health education that incorporates disease-mongering awareness must deal with how to discontinue drugs when they are no longer wanted (ineffective, causing adverse reactions, interacting deleteriously with other drugs), […]

Oct, 23

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH A MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING TOOL

I (K.W.) recently went to the gynecologist for my annual exam.  The office gave me the usual paperwork, but this time I noticed something new — a checklist about my mental health. It asked, “Over […]

Oct, 17

DISEASE-MONGERING MEETS THE MENINGITIS SCANDAL

The meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated medicine from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy has become a full-fledged health scandal with its inevitable elements: avoidable deaths, journalistic outrage, competing investigations, finger-pointing, newly discovered conflicts of interest/incompetence/corruption, resignations, […]

Oct, 10

NEW NORMALITIES

“Valium’s Contribution to the New Normal,” an opinion piece in the New York Times this week by longtime health writer Robin Marantz Henig, reviewed the public’s embrace of new expectations for mental equilibrium following the […]

Oct, 03

“PATIENT” IS THE NEW BUZZWORD

Everyone seems to be talking about “patients” these days.  It’s the word du jour.   The drug industry says patients are their reason for being in business.   National disease advocacy groups represent the voices of their […]

Sep, 27

GENE MYTHS AT THE DISEASE-MONGERING FRONTIER

It’s obvious to many how Big Pharma contributes to overtreatment, overdiagnosis, misleading marketing (i.e., Disease-Mongering). But what about Big Biotech? Case in point:  Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing. How about sex selection to achieve a “balanced family“? Have […]

Sep, 18

PINTEREST – THE LATEST SOCIAL MEDIA TOOL BEING USED BY PHARMA

Why am I not surprised to see that pharma is increasingly using Pinterest, the social photo-sharing website to reach millions of monthly online visitors. Drug companies are marketers.  Plain and simple.  They are using all […]

Sep, 11

METAPHORS AND MONGERING

Another new study  showing that organically raised food is NOT more healthy or nutritious has predictably caused a firestorm of objection. Marion Nestle, my favorite evidence-based food scientist, blogs about this brilliantly from New York. […]

Sep, 07

HEAR THE PEOPLE COMMENT ON OVERTREATMENT

The New York Times health columnist, Tara Parker-Pope, is focusing on overtreatment in her contributions to “The Agenda,” a blog following the major issues of the election: Economy, World, Health, Security, Planet (I guess that’s […]

Aug, 28

THE MEANING BEHIND THE LOGO

What is the Selling Sickness 2013 logo saying?  We thought long and hard about how to communicate our goal for the spirit of this conference, not just our antipathy towards disease mongering. Pills or other […]

Aug, 24

OVERDIAGNOSIS IN THE NEWS – WATCH OUT FOR DISEASE CREEP

Every week seems to bring important news about overdiagnosis, either in terms of medical guidelines, scientific papers, investigative revelations, or whistleblower disclosure. The big news this week (so far!) has to do with the “management” […]

Aug, 15

Welcome to our blog – submit your conference proposal soon

This is Leonore Tiefer starting off our conference blog from New York. There are already many wonderful blogs and books and videos about disease-mongering – overdiagnosis, overtreatment, overmarketing, overmedicalization, conflicts of interest – and we […]

Aug, 07

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