Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Scandal and A Scam

I want this press release to be wrong - maybe it isn't a press release, but a story. Yes, this story from the NY Times - I want it to be wrong. It reports a collaboration between a drug company, GlaxoSmithKline and a so called nonprofit social and political advocacy group, Creative Coalition. They are going to make a documentary.

Now the topic of the documentary is one for which I have GREAT passion - obesity. It would be a film about people's tendencies to over eat and to become obese. It will address this relationship we have with food and how obesity can lead to serious adverse health outcomes.

Now you might ask why GSK would make such an investment, and believe me, they plan to spend the money - use their resources as they say -

It is because GSK wants to bring attention to the problem. They say that they will give the production crew free reign to create what they call an educational product. An educational product that they hope will lead to more prescriptions of their supposed weight loss drug, Alli. (the same type of educational programs drug companies have infamously provided to health care providers for the last ten years. - yes?)

Have I written about Alli? You are damn straight I have.
and here
and here

I absolutely believe that there should be health education and health promotion regarding obesity, its effects and what to do about it. I believe that there should be policy aimed at reducing the amount of high fat, high sugar, high calorie foods that are available to children, hospital patients and to employees. I believe a true non profit, a university or a government agency, like the CDC should make this happen.

I do not believe drugs are the answer and as far as this drug goes, the efficacy is not well documented and Public Citizen has it listed as a Do Not Use drug.

GSK has as its goal, to make a profit. Period. If people are convinced that they are over weight and in danger and that a pill is the answer, then they will go to the store and buy Alli. They do not even have to ask their doctor for it. This sounds like one big direct to consumer marketing ploy -

I wish Bill Gates would make a film about obesity and then we could use the commercial I created in grad school that encourages people to ask their doctors if they are at risk for an obesity related illness.

Here it is in case you missed it.

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