Conférence internationale de Healthy Skepticism: « Selling Sickness », du 7 au 8 octobre à Amsterdam

La conférence aura lieu à Amsterdam, à l’hôtel Mövenpick, du 7 au 8 octobre inclus, sous le titre « Selling Sickness » (Vendre des maladies [pour vendre des médicaments]), qui est en fait le titre d’un livre de Ray Moynihan et Alan Cassels pour désigner l’une des techniques de base du phénomène marketing appelé « disease mongering« , imparfaitement traduit en français par « façonnage de maladies » ou parfois « invention de maladies ».

Tous les détails sont sur cette page de l’équipe « Gezonde Scepsis« , qui a organisé cette conférence internationale de l’association « Healthy sellingsickness_logo.jpgSkepticism » (dont je fais partie), avec un financement et la participation du ministère néerlandais de la santé et de l’Institut néerlandais pour un usage rationnel des médicaments (Instituut voor Verantwoord Medicijngebruik). L’office régional européen de l’OMS participe lui aussi au financement.

Pharmacritique a été parmi les tout premiers blogs ou sites français à aborder ce véritable exploit du marketing pharmaceutique et à en décortiquer les grandes lignes et significations, et à nommer les auteurs qui ont contribué à forger et/ou à diffuser largement ce syntagme. J’en parle à beaucoup d’endroits, mais les articles les plus « concentrés » sur le sujet sont accessibles à partir de cette page.

Une conférence internationale a eu lieu en 2006 à ce sujet, co-organisé par le spécialiste le plus connu : le journaliste Ray Moynihan, qui participera aussi à la conférence du 7-8 octobre à Amsterdam, dont voici la présentation en anglais, suivie du programme. (Désolée, d’habitude je traduis, mais là, je suis trop occupée pour le faire):

Programme « Selling Sickness », 7 and 8 October 2010

Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam

We offer a challenging programme with a variety of sessions, aimed at exploring the theme of ‘Selling Sickness’ on the first day, and working towards solutions on the second day. The conference is designed for everyone with an interest in pharmaceutical information and promotion including: health professionals, policy makers, staff of government health and regulatory departments, inspectors, staff of pharmaceutical, advertising and public relations companies, staff of NGOs and journalists. The host is Healthy Skepticism (Netherlands) assisted by the Dutch Institute for Rational Use of Medicine and Healthy Skepticism (International). The sponsors are the Dutch Ministry of Health and the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate, the conference is co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe. We proudly present you our programme now.

Programme day 1 – Thursday 7 October

Chairman – Anne van der Heyden

What is selling sickness and is it for real?

The marketing of sickness is a hot topic all over the world. Is it really happening? This introductory session aims to explore the ‘selling of sickness’ from three different perspectives. What is the industry’s role in informing the public? How are new medicines and disease classification related to promotion?

Where science meets marketing – Ray Moynihan

Female sexual dysfunction will be used as a case study to explore problems with disease promotion as well as policy options.
Ray Moynihan – journalist, co-author of the book ‘Selling Sickness’ and his new book ‘Sex, Lies & Pharmaceuticals’, frequent contributor to the British Medical Journal and conjoint lecturer at the Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Australia

Industry’s role in informing the public – Brain Ager

The innovative pharmaceutical industry will outline its perspective on informing patients and consumers about health, sickness and treatment.
Brian Ager – director general EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations)

DSM-V Opening Pandora’s Box – Allen Francis

The Use, Misuse, and Abuse of Psychiatric Diagnosis. How and why is the reach of the psychiatric classification expanding so much it is making normality an endangered species.  
Allen Frances – MD professor emeritus and former Chair, Dept Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences Duke University, USA Chair, DSM-IV Task Force

Panel discussion and Q&A session with our speakers

Tea and coffee break


What new methods are being used?
Technological innovation has produced many new ways for people to send and receive information. However, this information may be used for a purpose, for instance to promote or brand diseases or pharmaceuticals. What are the new trends? What role is there for ethical standards or regulation? In this session the speakers will discuss the place that the testing of pharmaceuticals and social media has in promotion and the options for regulation and law enforcement.

The Dutch situation: Supervision and law enforcement – Josée Hansen

This session will focus on regulation of advertising to the general public, and on collaboration by the Dutch Health Inspectorate with the self-regulatory institution KOAG/KAG and with Healthy Skepticism Netherlands. Options for law enforcement will be discussed, as well as some illustrative cases.
Josée Hansen – doctor of pharmacy – Chief Inspector, Health Care Inspectorate, the Netherlands

Clinical trials as disease mongering instruments – Trudy Dehue

Merging trials and publicity. Drug testing is being intertwined with disease marketing. The various phases of randomized controlled trials are increasingly linked to particular phases in marketing.
Trudy Dehue – full professor of theory and history of science, author of the volume ‘De depressie epidemie’ (The depression epidemic), University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Social Media and Pharma: Support or new commercial channel to care? – Rob Halkes

This topic will outline the role of Social Media for promotion to the public. What can be learned about regulations, best practices, & ethical standards from experiences in the United States
Rob Halkes – managing consultant health care at value innovation in medical and life sciences. The Netherlands.

Panel discussion and Q&A session with our speakers

Lunch and poster presentations


Learning from documented examples

The promotion of sickness and pharmaceuticals is not a new phenomenon; it happens in a variety of ways. What can be learned from examples of selling sickness? The speakers will explore examples from countries with different approaches to ‘direct-to-consumer-advertising’ and ‘direct-to-consumer-information’, and will discuss how promotion may influence medicine use and health care.

Promotion of prescription medicines: to physicians and the public – Dee Mangin

The use of antidepressants in pregnancy will be used as a case study to illustrate the problems with disease marketing and how promotion to the public interacts with promotion to physicians to sell sickness and influence medicine use in countries that allow public advertising of prescription medicines.
Dee Mangin – general practitioner, director of the Primary Care Research Unit and associate professor in the Department of Public Health and General Practice at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Promotion to the public:
European disease awareness campaigns – Teresa Alves

Companies use disease awareness campaigns as a tool to promote prescription medicines to the European public. This session will identify recent trends and present several examples of current breaches of advertising regulations.
Teresa Alves – coordinator, Health Action International (HAI) Europe

Panel discussion and Q&A session with our speakers

Tea and coffee break


Who pays the bill?

The influence of promotion on drug use will be discussed. This could become a costly affair, but how exactly does selling sickness cost society? This session will explore the ethical aspects to the ‘selling of sickness’, and the speakers will discuss the impact that disease awareness campaigns may have on the consumption of pharmaceuticals and on public health.

The influence on rational use of medicine – Kees de Joncheere

What is the impact of disease awareness on the use of medicine? What are the risks of overconsumption? How can national bodies for Rational Use of Medicine play a countervailing role.
Kees de Joncheere – regional Adviser Pharmaceuticals, WHO Regional Office for Europe.

The influence on patients – Ilaria Passarani

Exploring the existing evidence on the impact of disease awareness campaigns on the consumption of medicines, on public health and on consumers. And address the consumer right to know who is providing the information and for which purposes.
Ilaria Passarani – head of Health Department at The European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC)

Redesigning the incentives for the pharmaceutical industry – Dean Baker

Better ways to pay for drugs, research, medical education and health p
romotion to support trustworthy communication.
Dean Baker – macroeconomist, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, blogger (Beat the Press) and author of ‘False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy’, USA.

Panel discussion and Q&A session with our speakers

Closing remarks, networking reception

Conference dinner (registration needed)

Programme day 2 – Friday 8 October

Redesigning the system?

Chairman – Anne van der Heyden

Can systems be redesigned in order to better reward trustworthy communication and avoid unwanted side-effects of disease mongering?

Financial and insurance aspects – Henk Eleveld

What can insurance companies do to facilitate necessary attention for diseases or reduce unnecessary promotion of diseases?

Independent information for patients – Hilda Bastian

Describing the situation in Germany where there is a national structure with a legislative mandate for informing patients.
Hilda Bastian – head of the Department of Health Information at the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), Germany.

Panel discussion and Q&A session with our speakers

Tea and coffee break


The need for new regulations and guidelines

A common reaction from governments is to use rules and regulations to address problems, but this may not always be the most effective course of action. In this session the speakers will explore whether regulation could be a suitable solution in this debate, and whether a self-regulating pharmaceutical industry can be a part of this solution.

Self regulation on disease promotion – Lode Wigersma

Finland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have special regulations (self regulation) on disease promotion. This session will describe the experience with the new self regulatory code in the Netherlands.
Lode Wigersma – Vice-Chairman of Pharmaceutical Advertising Code Foundation (CGR). Since 2000 he is the Director of Policy ofthe KNMG (Royal Dutch Medical Association). The Netherlands

Regulation of pharmaceutical promotion – Graham Dukes

What basic elements are needed in regulatory rules and practice to be truly capable of preventing the selling of sickness. And what instruments are needed for enforcement?
Graham Dukes – medical doctor and lawyer, professor of pharmaceutical policy at the University of Oslo, Norway. Former vice-chairman of the Netherlands Board for the Evaluation of Medicines.

Guidelines and HTA (health technology assessment) – Meindert Boysen

Can we learn from the English and Welsh approach to selling sickness using widely accepted guidelines and HTA?
Meindert Boysen – Programme Director for Appraisals for the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, UK.

Panel discussion and Q&A session with our speakers

Lunch and poster presentations

Prize ‘best poster’


New responsibilities for main stakeholders?

During the conference many different aspects and examples of selling sickness will have been discussed, including effects on society to the ultimate goal of good information for patients. This session will provide perspectives from different sectors exploring how all stakeholders may work together towards a better situation for patients.

The industry: partner in solutions? – Michel Dutrée

Does the industry recognize this phenomenon and its risks? Does the industry have a responsibility in addressing this issue and if so, in what ways does the industry want to contribute?

Michel Dutrée – general manager Nefarma (Dutch pharmaceutical industry association), representative for Nefarma at the EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) and council member of IFPMA (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations), The Netherlands.

Should the Medicines Evaluation Boards be involved? – Bert Leufkens

One part of selling sickness is drug approval by a Medicines Evaluation Board. Should there be more discussion on this issue when medicines are evaluated?
Bert Leufkens – chairman Medicines Evaluation Board (CBG), The Netherlands.

International Cooperation – Peter Mansfield

How can all stakeholders work together for the benefit of patients?
Peter Mansfield – general practitioner, founder and director of Healthy Skepticism Inc and visiting research fellow at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Tea and coffee break

Final panel discussion: towards a joint statement and closing remarks

contact:  Sandra van Nuland, Project manager Gezonde scepsis:

Frais d’inscription:

  • Salariés d’organisations à but non lucratif: 295 euros
  • Salariés d’organisations à but lucratif: 495 euros
  • Etudiants: 175 euros

Plus le transport et l’hébergement.

Cela me semble très cher, compte tenu de tous les financements. J’imagine que seuls ceux qui peuvent se faire rembourser le tout par leurs institutions y participent. D’ailleurs, il me semble que le nombre de participants n’est pas très élevé.


Elena Pasca

Une réflexion sur “Conférence internationale de Healthy Skepticism: « Selling Sickness », du 7 au 8 octobre à Amsterdam”

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