Selling Sickness 2013: People Before Profits Conference in Washington DC -- February 21-22, 2013

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An impressive group of physicians, scholars, journalists and healthcare reformers to present data, views and proposed solutions on the topic of “Selling Sickness,” the practice of expanding the boundaries of illness for purposes of boosting treatment markets, and highlighting how science and clinical practice have been perverted for marketing purposes. See website at:

Too often, the sales and marketing of drugs and medical devices are put first, before the needs of patients. Those who diagnose and treat patients must meet a high bar for trust, with no loyalties to anyone but the patient.

WHERE: Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

WHO: Conference Co-organizers, Kim Witczak and Leonore Tiefer

Steering Committee, Shannon Brownlee, Dr. Thea Cacchioni, Dr. David Cohen, Anne Rochon Ford, Dr. David Healy, Dr. Iona Heath, Dr. Joel Lexchin, Dr. Dee Mangin, Dr. Barbara Mintzes, Gary Schwitzer, Bill Vaughn


Sponsors of the event include:

  • Consumers Union
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Int’l Society of Drug Bulletins
  • Citizens for Public Safety
  • National Physicians Alliance
  • British Medical Journal
  • PLoS (Public Library of Science)
  • Health Action International
  • Center for Digital Democracy
  • USC Annenberg Sch. for Communic. & Journal’m’s Reporting on Health Project

Speakers include:

  • Jim Guest, Pres. and CEO of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumers Reports ("This conference will shine a spotlight on the problems consumers face in the marketplace, as well as the reforms we need.")
  • Sidney Wolfe, M.D., Director, Health Research Group, Public Citizen
  • Alan Cassels, author of “Selling Sickness: How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients” and “Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease”
  • Nancy Shute, Past President, National Association of Science Writers, science and medical writer for NPR, Scientific American and National Geographic
  • Elizabeth Loder, M.D., M.P.H., British Medical Journal Editor
  • Shannon Brownlee, author of “Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer”
  • David Healy, M.D., author of “Pharmageddon” “Let them Eat Prozac” “The Creation of Psychopharmacology” “The Antidepressant Era” and others
  • John Abramson, M.D., author of “Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine”
  • David B. Ross, M.D., Ph.D, former FDA reviewer, whistleblower on antibiotic Ketek (“Industry has become FDA’s client. People at FDA know they have to be careful about upsetting industry … even if a product doesn’t work … there is pressure … to find some way of approving it.”) See:
  • Rosemary Gibson, Archives of Internal Medicine, Section Editor, author of “The Treatment Trap: How the Overuse of Medical Care is Wrecking Your Health and What You Can Do to Prevent it”
  • Peter Gotzsche, MD, Dir. Nordic Cochrane Centre, part of International Cochrane Collaboration, a network of experts that prepares and disseminates evidence-based systematic reviews . Author of “Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy”

To view additional speakers, go to:

A Call to Action on Disease-Mongering will be discussed and released with endorsements

The Call to Action includes a pledge to collective action on 13 remedies for disease-mongering, including:

  • Eliminating direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising
  • A firewall between commercial influences, regulators, guidelines
  • New drugs and devices tested against best current treatments
  • All clinical trials registered and raw data available to all
  • Patent reform to prioritize patient benefit
  • Protecting clinical trial research subjects
  • Involvement of consumers in research and regulation

Other unique program elements include Booktivism, the Selling Sickness Crossword, and an Evening of Popular Culture Satire, e.g., YouTube animations,drug singalongs, and excerpts from Hollywood films, documentaries and plays.

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Kim Witczak

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Dr. Leonore Tiefer

(212) 533 - 2774
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