Selling Sickness 2013

Call to action on selling sickness

Call to Action Statement


We believe the urgent threat to human health from disease-mongering requires the united and creative action of citizens and professionals.

We pledge ourselves to act, individually and collectively, to distribute and to implement the measures outlined in this statement and encourage continuing outreach to interested others.


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The Selling Sickness conference of February, 2013 was designed to be part of a global progressive and activist health movement. A CALL TO ACTION statement can help unify professionals, researchers, activists, scholars, caregivers, advocates and all citizens alarmed by disease-mongering.

The statement below was shaped by many contributors and discussed at “Selling Sickness, 2013: People before Profits” in Washington, DC, In February, 2013.


Washington, DC

We come together as researchers, health care professionals, activists, advocates, patients, caregivers and citizens deeply troubled about the growing corruption of medical science and health care.

We demand an end to industry-promoted disease-mongering that manipulates health concerns and causes harm through practices that medicalise normal life and deceive professionals and the public.

Commercial imperatives are being allowed to corrupt clinical, research and marketing practices which now include hiding data, inflating diagnostic categories, unnecessary screening and treatment, deceptive marketing, faulty and biased research and publishing, inadequate oversight, a neglect of social factors and injustices, and uncritical, unbalanced reporting.

We are alarmed at how undergraduate and post-graduate professional education are based on untrustworthy “science” designed to expand markets rather than impart valid knowledge or improve individual or public health.

Hazardous practices and distorted science harm patients, waste public resources, create illness and health anxiety, hoodwink the public, corrupt knowledge, corrode professionalism, and expose everyone to unnecessary, costly and dangerous tests and treatments.

Recognizing that we all will enact this commitment differently, we pledge our support to a new movement of alliances and actions to ensure that:

  • a clear firewall is created between industry/commercial influence, on the one hand, and, on the other, the regulators of drugs and devices as well as the developers and authors of clinical practice guidelines;
  • direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices is much more tightly regulated or, if possible, is prohibited and effective surveillance programs created;
  • drugs, diagnostic tests, and devices are tested, approved, reported and marketed solely with the goal of ensuring patient safety, scientific integrity and individual and public health;
  • drugs and devices are tested against appropriate controls, usually the current best treatment, in appropriate populations;
  • unsafe or ineffective marketed products are quickly identified, their harms and inadequacies are widely publicized, and they are removed from use;
  • all clinical trials are registered and access to all raw clinical trial data is made available for independent analyses at least at the time of approval, but preferably before approval;
  • the patent system for medicines is reformed so commercial benefit does not overshadow real clinical benefits for patients;
  • patients and health care consumers are fully informed about and involved in individual health decisions, as well as in research priorities, research design, and regulatory policy;
  • human subjects participating in clinical trials are adequately protected by ethical review boards that are functioning properly, accurate and complete informed consent, and the provision of full compensation for any harms;
  • journalists, whose job it must be to independently vet claims made by third parties, realize the harm that is done when news stories disseminate disease-mongering sales and promotion messages in an unchallenged, unverified manner;
  • health care regulations, health professional training, and clinical practice guidelines acknowledge and make allowance for marginalized and vulnerable groups who may be more susceptible to harms and exploitation;
  • the usually less profitable non-pharmaceutical treatments and therapies, as well as disease prevention and community-centered interventions, are raised in research and publishing priority to levels comparable to drug and device therapies.

These reforms will substantially improve public health and safety in a complex world of escalating technologies and communications media, and will save money, thereby lessening pressure on individual and public budgets and private health insurance programs.

We believe the urgent threat to human health from disease-mongering requires the united and creative action of citizens and professionals.

We pledge ourselves to act, individually and collectively, to distribute and to implement the measures outlined in this statement and encourage continuing outreach to interested others.


The statement has been endorsed by these organizations.

If you would like to add your organization, please submit your logo using the button at the top of page.

Latest Signatures
864 Ana soto Jul 17, 2014
863 jordi navarro Jul 17, 2014
862 Alba Millán Barcelona, Barcelona Spain Jul 09, 2014
861 Mª MILAGROS SÁNCHEZ TORRES San Cristobal de La Laguna, santa cruz de tenerife España Jul 09, 2014
860 Jayanta Bhattacharya RAIGANJ, West Bengal India Jul 05, 2014
859 Barbara Teeple Victoria, British Columbia Canada Jun 30, 2014
858 ana cardeñoso domingo madrid, madrid españa Jun 27, 2014
857 Correia Ferreira Regina Burgos, Castilla Leon España Jun 27, 2014
856 ricardo ballesteros sevilla, sevilla Spain Jun 25, 2014
855 Robert Sprinkle College Park, MD USA Jun 22, 2014
854 Vcente Fernandez Gutierrez Maliaño, Cantabria España Jun 16, 2014
853 Suzie Busko Sidney, NE USA Jun 13, 2014
852 Patricia Mordini Madrid Spain Jun 12, 2014
851 Sara Martí Roca Murcia, Murcia España Jun 10, 2014
850 rosa dominguez benicasim, castellon españa Jun 08, 2014
849 Jocalyn Clark Dhaka, Dhaka Bangladesh May 31, 2014
848 Alexander Loewen Germany May 27, 2014
847 Emma Riambau Torredembarra, Tarragona Spain May 24, 2014
846 Mariano García Spain May 21, 2014
845 Ventura Francés Peñataro Petrer, Petrer, Alicante, Spain Spain May 20, 2014
844 ELENA FERNANDEZ RODRIGUEZ la laguna Spain May 16, 2014
843 yurena morera la laguna, canarias Spain May 14, 2014
842 Maria Plata Madrid Spain May 14, 2014
841 Mercedes Abella Spain May 14, 2014
840 Miguel Diaz España May 14, 2014
839 Raquel Ibañez Madrid, madrid Spain May 14, 2014
838 José Knobel Barcelona, Barcelona Spain May 14, 2014
837 FRANCISCO TORRALBO madrid, madrid españa May 12, 2014
836 Carmelo Angel Mendoza Guzmán Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas España May 10, 2014
835 Enrique Rodero Madrid, Madrid Spain May 10, 2014
834 Cocina Martinez Luarca, Asturias España May 09, 2014
832 Amelia Sanz Zaragoza, Zaragoza España May 08, 2014
831 Àngels Avecilla Badalona, Barcelona Spain May 07, 2014
830 Diego Muñoz Ramirez Barcelona Spain May 07, 2014
828 Enrique Gonzalez San Martin de la Vega, Madrid Spain May 07, 2014
827 Javier Muñoz Alicante, Alicante Spain May 07, 2014
826 Ana Cunqueiro Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña España May 07, 2014
825 ALEJANDRO GUERRERO GAMERO Torrejón de Ardoz Spain May 07, 2014
824 Lucia Rodríguez Gutiérrez LEÓN, León España May 06, 2014
823 Ana Prado Madrid, Madrid Spain May 06, 2014
822 Gema de Cos Madrid Spain May 06, 2014
821 Joan Romera Torredembarra, Tarragona Spain May 06, 2014
820 Yolanda García madrid, madrid Spain May 06, 2014
819 Juan Carlos Diez Lardero, La Rioja España May 06, 2014
818 Delfín Grande Madrid Spain May 06, 2014
817 Csilla Kovács Sarriguren, Navarra Spain May 06, 2014
816 María Mesas Albolote, Granada España May 06, 2014
815 Celso Arsénio PERESSINI Aguilera Villalonga, Valencia España May 06, 2014

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