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Big Pharma is using stealth marketing in Canadian papers

The CBC has reported that drug companies are using stealth ads -disguised as news- as a part of a marketing campaign involving a well-known Canadian comedian, a doctor and a public relations firm. The drug company, Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., funded comedian Cathy Jones’ (of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame) PR campaign about vaginal health. Yet, in Globe and Mail interviews and elsewhere, it is not mentioned that the campaigned was sponsored by Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., which makes a vaginal hormone pill. 

Accompanying Jones on the media interviews was Dr. Vivien Brown, assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto, who was hired Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.. It has now been detailed that, “during the interview process, the reporter found out that a pharmaceutical company was involved in the campaign,” yet this was not mentioned in the article when it was published.

Dr. Jerilynn Prior, who runs the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, has stated, “It is misrepresenting the marketing purpose behind it. It’s misrepresenting as helping women, but its purpose is making money,” while Sergio Sismondo, a philosophy professor at Queen’s University, has pointed out that this type of marketing is, “highly misleading and that’s an ethical implication in and of itself.”

If you don’t think Big Pharma is influencing health policies in Canada and the wellbeing of patients, think again. The Council of Canadians has been ahead of the media in revealing Big Pharma’s shadowy presence across the country. 

Last week we exposed how the American Big Pharma lobby group PhRMA, was behind a important conference on the future of medicare in Canada as a major sponsor. In late September, the Toronto Star reported on junk science and drug company ghostwriting in medical journals, a topic which the Council of Canadians has long sounded the alarm on. We have also shown how the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation is largely driven by drug companies and discussed how the ‘gift relationship’ between doctors and Big Pharma negatively influences our health. From Big Pharma’s involvement in Ontario’s cash for access scandal to the unjust firing of scientists in BC at the behest of the drug industry, we have reported it. Earlier this year we showed the link between trade agreements and the pharma lobby.  We have uncovered how the vile company that is perhaps the worst price gouger in the US is Canadian and that the CPP (along with other pensions) invests in them

Later this month the Council of Canadians will be releasing a major report which will look into the Big Pharma topics mentioned above (and many more you need to know about), while showing how we can find many of the solutions we need through pharmacare and better medicine.  

Stay tuned…

If you like the work the Council of Canadians is doing on health care, and want to see more blogs like this, please take a minute to help fund the fight for medicare here