(NewsTarget) A report released by Consumers International (CI) — the world federation of consumer organizations — accuses 20 of the largest drug companies across Europe and the UK of endangering public health by engaging in illegal marketing practices.According to the CI report, drug companies are covertly bribing doctors, suppressing or altering the results of drug-safety studies, and convincing consumers that they are ill through multi-billion-dollar marketing campaigns. CI says rampant malpractices in drug companies are still common, even after Merck’s Vioxx scandal and the public backlash against the company’s marketing of a known dangerous product.
CI director general Richard Lloyd says an “area of concern” brought to light by the report is “how the promotion of drugs by the pharmaceutical companies to doctors can lead to irrational drug use.” The report cites drug companies’ latest marketing campaigns as probable causes of increased “irrational” drug use. This includes using internet chat groups and product information websites to “inform” the public about diseases without directly promoting a specific product. “This type of ‘nice-and-friendly’ marketing is often disguised as corporate social responsibility, and has been shown to create a subtle need among consumers to demand drugs for the conditions, while giving consumers a sense of trust in the pharmaceutical companies,” the report states.
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