Observations Medicine and the Media

The return of the spoof

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39503.716412.0F (Published 13 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:589

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Bob Burton, freelance journalist, South Hobart, Tasmania
  1. bobburton{at}ozemail.com.au

The spoof drug campaign that became an internet hit is back—as a global education campaign about the marketing strategies of the drug industry. Bob Burton reports

Indolebant—the spoof drug that was originally created to treat the previously unknown motivational deficiency disorder—is back. What started out as a disturbingly successful April fool’s day prank in the news pages of the BMJ (BMJ 2006;332:745 doi: 10.1136/bmj.332.7544.745-a) has been relaunched in a series of video clips by Consumers International (www.consumersinternational.org) as part of its “Marketing Overdose” campaign. The campaign aims to immunise the public against the marketing strategies of the drug industry.

The international consumer group wants to ban drug industry gifts to doctors, ensure that industry funding of patients’ groups is made transparent, and substitute genuinely independent health information for direct to consumer advertising and “disease awareness” campaigns sponsored by the drug industry. The videos—available online (at http://marketingoverdose.org/) and on DVD—are called Pharma TV, Pharma Confidential,and Pharma Facts.

Pharma TV is a one minute spoof television story on indolebant (trade name Strivor) that the group suggests could appear on the European Patient Information …

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