Selling Sickness 2013

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 will appear in the British Medical Journal later this month, linking to the Call, and we expect more endorsers from that publicity. (Here it is as of May 14!)  It is extremely gratifying to see so many colleagues from so many aspects of the health care provider/consumer/researcher world willing to stand up and be counted as part of our new movement.

The focus of the Call is twofold: first, to identify, in dramatic language, all the many aspects of disease-mongering that have alarmed us. And second, to offer a list of specific reforms that can make a difference in the state of medical science and health care.

While most responses to the Call have been positive, it’s been interesting to note some hesitancy to sign due to the energetic language used in the Call. One group wrote us, “There was unanimous support for the bulleted list of objectives.  But there was hesitancy about the provocative tone of the preamble.  In aggregate, words like “corrupt,” “untrustworthy,” “deceptive,” “demand”, “corrode,” “hoodwink,” “biased,” “alarmed” etc. create a tone of angry defiance that went farther than [our] group was comfortable endorsing.” It is understandable that some groups would find the preamble (the first part, the one that identifies the panorama of disease-mongering) a bit strong! But, ironically, it is that very strength, that energy born of outrage and betrayal, that has fueled Selling Sickness this far.

A movement is an umbrella for individuals and groups to walk together despite their differences. The Call to Action on Selling Sickness is one element in a new social movement to reform medical science and health care and we welcome fellow travelers, whatever their chosen phraseology might be.

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