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
771 José Robles Murcia, Murcia España Apr 16, 2014
770 Maribel Ibáñez Barcelona, Catalunya España Apr 16, 2014
769 pablo Santamaría madrid, madrid Spain Apr 12, 2014
768 Aida de Vicente Colomina guadarrama, madrid spain Apr 12, 2014
767 Isabel Mayoral Spain Apr 08, 2014
766 Jorge García de la Cruz Las Palmas de G.C. Spain Apr 07, 2014
765 Ana Royuela Madrid, Madrid Spain Apr 06, 2014
764 Manuel Peleteiro Pensado Madrid, Madrid Spain Apr 06, 2014
763 Belén Sandoval Mayorga, Valladolid España Apr 05, 2014
762 John Benda Minneapolis, Minnesota USA Apr 05, 2014
761 M.Joana Almeida Lisbon Portugal Apr 04, 2014
760 Dijon Silva Ilhéus-BA, Brasil Brasil Apr 04, 2014
759 Samuel Franco Apr 04, 2014
758 Pedro Jimenez Garcia Marbella, Malaga Spain Apr 02, 2014
757 Ramon Arellano Madrid Spain Apr 01, 2014
756 Fernando Mosquera Vitoria, Álava Spain Apr 01, 2014
755 Jacques Bohbot Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca Spain Mar 31, 2014
754 Javier Salamanca Madrid España Mar 31, 2014
752 María José Herraiz Escobar Barcelona, Barcelona Spain Mar 30, 2014
751 Rafael Bermejo Córdoba Spain Mar 30, 2014
750 Eugenia Luzon Granada, España Espña Mar 30, 2014
749 Jordi Marfà Vallverdú Barcelona , Barcelona Spain Mar 30, 2014
748 Elisa Llorente Bilbao, Bizkaia España Mar 29, 2014
747 Raquel Rojo-Chico Caceres, Caceres Spain Mar 29, 2014
746 pedro León Sabinillas, Malaga ESPAÑA Mar 28, 2014
744 JOSE LUIS TORRES ALICANTE Spain Mar 28, 2014
743 Capilla Alberto Móstoles, MADRID SPAIN Mar 28, 2014
742 J. Ramón Pérez A Coruña, A Coruña España Mar 28, 2014
740 Mª Luisa Toribio Las Rozas, Madrid España Mar 28, 2014
739 Alfonso Pitarque Spain Mar 28, 2014
738 María José Sánchez Elena Écija, Sevilla España Mar 28, 2014
737 Jesús Martínez Sevilla Granada, Granada Spain Mar 27, 2014
736 Javier Garcia Madrid, Madrid Spain Mar 27, 2014
735 Ana Gordaliza Madrid, Madrid España Mar 27, 2014
734 JOSÉ A. AGUILELLA Matadepera, Barcelona Spain Mar 27, 2014
733 Cristina Bravo Plasencia, Cáceres Spain Mar 27, 2014
732 Antonio Ruiz Colmenarejo, Madrid Spain Mar 27, 2014
731 Maytte Torrente Gimenez C. Villalba, Madrid Spain Mar 27, 2014
730 Madeleine Innocent Australia Mar 27, 2014
729 Ana Vall-llossera Barcelona, Barcelona Spain Mar 26, 2014
728 Jose Luis Ruiz Gurbindo Zaragoza, Zaragoza España Mar 26, 2014
727 Cecilia Calvo Pita Madrid Spain Mar 26, 2014
726 Cinta Daufi Tarragona, Tarragona Spain Mar 26, 2014
725 Maria Jesus Rosado Pamplona, Navarra Spain Mar 26, 2014
724 Joan Anton Mateu Barcelona Spain Mar 26, 2014
723 María Elisa Morell Sixto Madrid Spain Mar 26, 2014
722 Reyes Lena Sánchez-Mora BADAJOZ ESPAÑA Mar 26, 2014

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