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. The conference opened my eyes in many ways, but it was irritating, too. Virtually every example used to illustrate the disease mongering problem came from the United States, yet few from the US attended. I kept asking myself, “Why isn’t this conference being held in the States when we are the number one pill-popping nation in the world?”
Thanks to Peter Mansfield of Healthy Skepticism who connected me with Leonore Tiefer (who had attended the first Selling Sickness conference in Australia in 2006) “Selling Sickness 2013” was born. Little did I know that Leonore too was thinking that it was time for this conversation to happen in our country. Selling Sickness 2013 will bring together 200+ attendees from the US and around the world representing various consumer/patient organizations, academic and healthcare institutions, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, insurance companies and medical news outlets. A prime conference goal is to create opportunities for attendees to meet and network with people outside their normal areas of influence. We hope that new collaborations and relationships will form and ideas exchanged that will influence policy, legislation, and public awareness well after the conference ends.
Our grassroots conference is not funded by the government or any institution or organization. It is funded through co-sponsorships, registration fees, and “friend” raising. Both Leonore and I have committed our personal funds to cover the conference costs if we don’t break even. It’s truly been a labor of love. We recognize that this has not been the typical conference where the organizers cover speaker travel, honoraria, and registration fees. Instead, everyone including speakers and organizers have paid their own way and registration.
This grassroots event will bring together an amazing community, albeit only briefly, but we hope with lasting impact.
We wish you good health, happiness and a dose of skepticism in 2013. See you next month.