Professore Emerito, Dipartimento di Scienze della Riproduzione e dello Sviluppo, Università di Trieste
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Key words: Advertising, Medical journals, Pharmaceutical companies, Ethics
The problem of the professional ethics of Medical Journals to accept advertising of pharmaceutical products is discussed. The opinion of the Author is that: a) Medical Journals are actually the natural, or better the only seat where pharmaceutical companies can advertise their products; b) advertising is well separated from the content of the Journals and it constitutes a “transparent advertising” that is immediately recognised as such; c) the readers, usually physicians, due to their professionalism, have to be able to easily recognise whether the content of such advertising is too promotional, evocative or anyway not evidence-based; d) when pharmaceutical companies present their products they also provide for a “transparent” support to the medical publishing; this support is due since the medical publishing enables physicians to know and correctly utilise the resources that the pharmaceutical company offer; e) certainly some collusions between pharmaceutical companies and medical publishing may occur and they may produce an “occult propaganda” which is for its nature “not-ethical”; f) pharmaceutical companies, anyway, have more efficacious way than the publication of advertising to influence public opinion, medical opinion and also political choices; g) indeed, it seems very difficult that any advertising can really influence a diffuse incorrect medical practice (for example the excessive use of an antibiotic or of a fever reducer or of a topic cortisonic), such practices originate from different and autonomous motivation; h) the very fact of taking this subject seriously in consideration smells of Puritanism that goes towards an unaware hypocrisy.
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