I welcomed y’all to the PR Machine yesterday, where I discussed the Drug Wonks blog and the general topic of how pro-industry speech is magnified while dissenting voices are generally muffled.
I’m not the only blogger who has noticed this trend. Philip Dawdy at Furious Seasons noted recently that Lilly, maker of Doggie Prozac (aka Reconcile), is now supporting a patient support group (Support Partners) that touts the benefits of dog ownership for people with depression. Wonderful. I wonder if this new support group will ever discuss Reconcile? Nah, too obvious, you think? We’ll see.
On the page that discusses treatment options for depression, it is stated…
Some of your questions may include the different medications used to treat depression. If you want to learn more about a medication for the treatment of depression from Eli Lilly and Company, click here
As you probably guessed, it links to the lovely Depression Hurts website. The page also states:
Therapy typically means that you spend about an hour a week talking with a mental health professional. Treatment can continue for several weeks or up to one to two years. Every person's situation is different.
What does it say about antidepressants, besides linking to Cymbalta?
Taking medication to treat depression doesn't change your personality; you'll simply start to feel better. You may begin to feel improvement in your symptoms in the first couple of weeks of taking an antidepressant. Typically, within four to six weeks, you should notice a significant improvement.
So with medication, “you’ll simply start to feel better,” usually within four to six weeks, whereas with psychotherapy, you might spend several weeks or up to two years and who knows if you’ll feel better. Who cares that the evidence on treating depression does not support Lilly’s marketing?
Oh well. At least the website for Support Partners is obviously sponsored by Lilly, with the Lilly logo on the bottom of the page.
Sneaky Sponsorship: Some groups are not nearly as blatantly sponsored as Support Partners. That is why I am so pleased that Seroxat Secrets has been keeping an eye on patient support groups that, by sheer coincidence, happen to recite marketing talking points from industry. The posts on the Diabetes Monitoring Forum (1, 2) are well worth a read.
A patient support group known as Depression Alliance has also been dissected at Seroxat Secrets. Rather than copy his words, I’ll just refer interested readers to the posts on the link between the patient advocacy group Depression Alliance and public relations firms that helped with the
Other astroturfing posts include:
- Seroquel on Turf
- Astroturfing Is Not NICE
- Grassroots or Astroturf?
- Astroturfing Down Under
- Astroturf Education
Once again, Welcome to the Machine