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Exposing some sickening relationships

The Center for Media and Democracy in the US has documented some sickening relationships between the industries that cause and treat diseases: • In 2006, the American Heart Association teamed up with a pharmacy chain, Rite Aid Drug Stores, to promote a “Go Red for Women” campaign to increase awareness of heart disease in women […]

Are we paying a high price for soaring caesar rates?

The latest national figures show the Australian health system is paying a high price for the ever-increasing rate of caesarean sections. In 2006, 30.8% of births were by caesarean section, compared with 20.3% in 1997. The Australia’s mothers and babies 2006 report, by the AIHW National Perinatal Statistics Unit at the University of New South […]

What’s Garlingesque got to do with health reform?

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, Director of the Centre for Clinical Governance Research at University of New South Wales, has provided this analysis of the Garling inquiry into the NSW health system – and also coined a few new additions to the Macquarie: Garlingesque [noun, gar-ling-esk]: A health inquiry conducted with a flamboyant flourish, rendered into a […]

Should experts keep out of industry advertising? Some more views…

Professor Warwick Anderson, the ceo of the NHMRC, recently set the cat amongst the pigeons with a call for doctors and other health professionals to avoid appearing in advertising for pharmaceuticals or other health and medical products. He also suggested that they steer clear of commercially driven disease-awareness campaigns. At the time, I thought it […]

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Debate and discussion about health issues and policy

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Should alcohol advertising be banned? Public health experts reply

A senior scientist, Professor Michael Good, has called for a ban on alcohol advertising. It’s a significant call, especially considering the clout that Good wields, as head of the QIMR, chair of the NHMRC, and co-chair of the health stream at the 2020 Summit (although it should be pointed out that he made the call […]

Is it time to end expert-based advertising?

Professor Warwick Anderson, the ceo of the NHMRC, thinks so. As reported in Crikey today, he’s suggested that doctors and other health professionals avoid appearing in advertising for pharmaceuticals or other health and medical products, and that they also steer clear of commercially driven disease-awareness campaigns. Croakey is surveying the heads of medical research institutes […]

How to resuscitate primary health care

Professor Stephen Leeder, Director of the Australian Health Policy Institute, writes: The recent Crikey article raising serious questions about the future of primary care is timely in view of the problems facing general practice in Australia. We need a national approach to general practice that invests five times the current level in it: to achieve […]

The debate continues: is binge drinking campaign a backward step?

Geoff Munro, National Policy Manager at the Australian Drug Foundation, responds to a previous post by Dr Alex Wodak: “Alex Wodak rightly points out that media campaigns do not in themselves change much behavior directly, so we cannot expect the binge drinking campaign to have a big effect. It is hardly fair though, to characterize […]

Is it time for a truce in the disease wars?

When a disease or health problem hits the headlines, claiming a massive casualty count or economic cost, my first thoughts are often cynical. Who is driving this and why? When I investigate further, my cynicism is often reinforced. Often it’s a group lobbying for a particular treatment to be funded. Often the campaign is supported, […]

Is Crikey’s register of influence a crap idea?

Adam Cresswell, the health editor at The Australian, has had a critical look at Crikey’s register of influence, and doesn’t quite like what he sees. Writing in his regular Media Bites column in Australian Doctor magazine (the issue dated 28 November), Adam raises concerns that the register may simply create confusion rather than greater transparency […]