Selling Sickness 2013

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 the nature and growing extent of disease-mongering, but participants left with no post-conference plan for activism.

We decided early on to generate a CALL TO ACTION that would serve as a unifying statement for those of us — physicians, researchers, professionals, activists, scholars, caregivers or advocates — alarmed by disease-mongering.

This statement is now in its pre-conference provisional form. It represents the 11th draft (!!), and has been shaped by the contributions and feedback of about a dozen physicians, anthropologists, consumer activists and journalists from the US, Canada, UK, and New Zealand.

We will have copies of the provisional statement in the conference program in Washington and scattered all about the conference space. There will be a lunchtime session devoted to feedback and discussion, and a session at the end of the conference as well. We will try to accommodate suggestions as much as possible with the understanding that not everything will be possible in the interests of consensus and practicality. We look forward to hearing what several dozen people think, and enlisting a broad and diverse group in disseminating these ideas.

We hope organizations and individuals will sign the Call to Action even in its provisional form, and once it is finalized, will circulate it widely through old and new communications media. Feedback is welcome at

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