Generic Paxil Suicide Lawsuit

Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Saturday, May 05, 2007

GSK Advertise Seroxat for Red Nose Day

I have just read this article from 2002 that was published in The Sydney Herald.

Seroxat/Paxil is known as Aropax in Australia

It sickened me.

This has to be filed under the Devious Sales tag

Sponsor's advert a happy coincidence
By Julie Robotham
April 3 2002

It's the biggest event on Britain's charity circuit and now it's coming to Australia.

Comic Relief, which raises close to $1billion biennially, hopes to be "the most significant charitable fundraiser in Australia by 2003".

Australian and international comedians, including stars such as Ben Elton, will perform at a telethon broadcast in October by Channel9. Volunteering Australia will be a beneficiary.

But it is also providing an opportunity for drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, whose campaign of support for Comic Relief has some similarities to its advertising for one of Australia's top-selling anti-depressant drugs.

"Love that Aropax smile," reads a six-page fold-out ad that appeared in doctors' news magazines at the end of last year. It is trimmed in bright orange and features a formerly depressed mother joking with an orange segment in her mouth, and her giggling, orange-clad daughter.

Earlier this year the company took out ads in the same publications, touting its $200,000 donation to Comic Relief and announcing a fund-raising program in which its drug sales people would visit doctors dressed as clowns.

The notices bore no direct reference to Aropax, but nevertheless had an orange backdrop and they continued the smiling theme. "We're dropping in to make you smile for a very worthy cause," the company explained.

GlaxoSmithKline Australia's commercial director, Lisa Bonadonna, said the Comic Relief sponsorship was not a promotion for Aropax. The similarity between the advertisements' colours and copy was "completely unintentional".

"There was no product promotion at all," Ms Bonadonna said. The exercise had been intended to display the company's leadership in social issues as well as drug therapies.

But doctors' groups say they are increasingly concerned at the style and scale of drug companies' marketing as they channel funds previously used to wine and dine the medical community into direct and indirect promotions.

The president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Paul Hemming, said drug companies' strategies had changed since the introduction of a new code of practice that prevented them from offering largesse directly to doctors.

"Now one has to assume they are looking to spend the same amount of money without breaking their own ethical guidelines. I think it's sailing close to the wind," Dr Hemming said.

GlaxoSmithKline's Comic Relief sponsorship appeared to be "another attempt to promote their product in a way that's more acceptable - through a charity. But if there is a subliminal or an obvious connection with a brand or product then that is a concern."

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is concerned sponsorship of educational activities might act as covert marketing.

In an article to members last year to open discussion on the issue, the director of mental health at Sutherland Hospital, Grant Sara, wrote it was "neither sinister nor surprising that we are the targets of marketing".

He said doctors had to be more aware of the power of promotion: "Most of us feel we are not affected by advertising, can spot misleading claims, and would not be influenced by gifts or inducements. We are almost certainly wrong."

The executive director of Comic Relief Australia, Ric Holland, said he had no ethical concerns about GlaxoSmithKline's involvement because its pitch was to doctors - not directly to the public. "I don't think anyone's got any exclusive right [over] human emotions," he said.

The creative director of advertising agency Belgiovane Williams Mackay, Rob Belgiovane, said GlaxoSmithKline's Comic Relief and Aropax ads were "both selling the notion of happiness - one the natural way, the other the anti-depressant way".

Mr Belgiovane, who was not involved in the campaign, said: "If you can relate the qualities of your brand to an essential human truth - laughing, crying, having babies - you get a stronger emotional response to your brand."

I am just lost for words, I truly am


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