These drug companies are clever – they way they sell drugs is so subtle and the internet helps them to do it in so many ways.
In my previous post I wrote about the launch of Cymbalta in the UK and I wrote that in America the campaign for Cymbalta is called “Depression Hurts”.
I’ve now come across another website called Breaking through Barriers which is built around a survey called: “Depression: The Painful Truth.” It measured how aware physicians and people with depression are of the connection between the emotional and painful physical symptoms of depression, and to identify potential diagnosis and treatment gaps.
Breaking through Barriers tells us that “The alarming results of the ‘Depression: The Painful Truth’ Survey prompted the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) to call a meeting of experts from different areas of psychiatry – leading doctors and patient advocates – in the summer of 2005 to discuss new ways of improving the diagnosis of depression and increasing understanding of the disease. The meeting was sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company and Boehringer Ingelheim.”
Actually the research was sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company and Boehringer Ingelheim as well, and so too is the Breaking through Barriers website.
The website also tells us: “It is important to increase awareness of all symptoms of depression, including painful physical symptoms related to depression, among the general public in order to encourage affected individuals to seek professional help early on and help them present their symptoms to their primary care physician.”
I’m joining up the dots here – are you?
Lilly & Boehringer Ingelheim/general aches and pains associated with depression/raise awareness….
Cobble together some ‘research’, create an unmet clinical need and sell sell sell…
Do you know what the payoff is – the final ‘finding’ – of the survey with the alarming results…?
“Overall, approximately 74 % of people with depression would consider switching to another medication if it resolved the painful physical symptoms of depression as well as the emotional symptoms.”
I don’t suppose that Lilly & Boehringer Ingelheim have anything that might help us here, do they…? hold on, just wait a minute – they produce Cymbalta don’t they? Isn’t that the SSRI that treats the physical aches and pains associated with depression as well as the psychological manifestations of the condition?
One last thing… about the editorial board of Breaking through Barriers – among the ’eminent’ Professors and Doctors, you’ll find Amelia Mustapha. The same Amelia who worked closely with Lilly & Boehringer Ingelheim on the Pulling Together campaign (and others) when she was at Depression Alliance. When I saw the document that Depression Alliance had produced to underpin this campaign I was VERY surprised by its contents and design – see my review here.
Amelia is now continuing her good work as Vice President of the European Depression Association and Communications Director of the UK’s Centre for Mental Health.