MaLAM: Encouraging Trustworthy Drug Promotion. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 017 (1994)
(1994; 2 pages)


The Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing (MaLAM) is a non-profit organization for health professionals who support more ethical marketing from pharmaceutical companies. This article by MaLAM founder Peter Mansfield describes the organization’s objectives, methods, and results for improving the quality of information on pharmaceutical advertisements. Mansfield cites a study from 1991 which reported 91% of general practitioners in the United Kingdom felt advertising was not important, yet 77% had been misled about the drug dextropropoxyphene. To combat the misinformation, MaLAM’s strategy is to send a monthly letter to a pharmaceutical manufacturer requesting more information on a questionable promotional claim. Thousands of MaLAM News subscribers then send individual requests for a copy of the manufacturer’s response, and the volume of inquiries cannot be ignored. The following dialogue between pharmaceutical companies and MaLAM is then reported in MaLAM News and various medical journals, leaving it up to the health professionals to decide how to use the new information. This tactic has led to changes in marketing and occasionally the withdrawal or reformulation of a drug. Mansfield states MaLAM’s positive aim to prove that the pharmaceutical industry is capable of reform. MaLAM was focused almost exclusively on developing countries but recently received a grant to begin work in the developed world in Australia. Future plans for MaLAM include expanding its international operations by translating MaLAM News editions into Spanish and establishing organizations in other countries.

Abstract written by M. Tobin, 2013.

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