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Merck paid website $3.5 million to promote vaccines

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

http://vactruth.com/2013/01/04/merck-paid-webmd-millions/

 

 

 

Quote:

According to documents located on Merck’s website, at least $3,592,850 dollars was paid to Medscape LLC, a subsidiary of WebMD Health, from 2008 through 2012. If you factor in other cancer programs promoted on WebMD by Merck, the total figure comes to $3,982,850. The amount is likely higher as one of the documents on the website is unavailable. 

 

 

The table itemizing the payments at the end of the article is very revealing.

 

The author asks this question:

 

 

 

Quote:

Do you really think Merck invested all of this money to educate you about vaccines or to sell their product? 

 

As a former PR/marketing employee, I know the answer to this question. 

post #2 of 6

Yes - I know the answer to that too!

 

What I have a hard time wrapping my head around is that some people (its been discussed in other threads before) deny that companies (including bigpharma) hire and pay people to spread fear and misinformation - ie the exsistance of shills. A corporation that would spend almost 4 million dollars on 1 website to try and convince people to use a product would surely spend money on shills. 

 

My understanding is that it happens not only in the healthcare industry, but other industries as well. Its called Astroturfing.

 

I found this article from Australia interesting

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/feb/23/need-to-protect-internet-from-astroturfing

post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marnica View Post

Yes - I know the answer to that too!

 

What I have a hard time wrapping my head around is that some people (its been discussed in other threads before) deny that companies (including bigpharma) hire and pay people to spread fear and misinformation - ie the exsistance of shills. A corporation that would spend almost 4 million dollars on 1 website to try and convince people to use a product would surely spend money on shills. 

 

My understanding is that it happens not only in the healthcare industry, but other industries as well. Its called Astroturfing.

 

I found this article from Australia interesting

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/feb/23/need-to-protect-internet-from-astroturfing

I remember reading some books by former pharmaceutical employees (including one executive) that it's well-known in the pharm industry that they do hire shills.  So it seems that it's not conjecture, but fact.  It looks like more and more former pharm employees are developing a conscience, and confessing what they've done:

http://ethicalnag.org/2011/11/15/paying-celebrities-to-shill-your-drugs/

http://oneradionetwork.com/geo-politics/dr-john-virapen-ph-d-confessions-of-an-ex-pharma-top-executive-march-19-2012/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppSLJK-eRhg

http://www.amazon.com/Whistleblower-Confessions-Healthcare-Hitman/dp/193336839X

http://pharmamkting.blogspot.com/2007/11/true-confessions-redux-another-md-shill.html

post #4 of 6
As usual I was interested to put this figure In context as sure 3.5 million sounds like a huge amount to me, but I'm not a major international company.

A quick google and I find Pfizer spent 1.2 billon (that 400 times as much) to advertise Viagra, Loreal spent 1.3 billion advertising cosmetics, and Procter and gamble spent almost 3 billion.

http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0612/7-companies-with-big-advertising-budgets.aspx#

Does this mean I think it's ok - absolutely not - one of the things I dislike the most about the us health system is the advertising of pharmaceuticals. It's why i'm thankful for the nhs website for advice I know has only the agenda of protecting the public health.

Doesnt mean I think there's some mass conspiracy on web md to mislead you either.

And so many factual untruths/distortions in the rest of that article. Actually it made me laugh out loud at sometimes. If I didn't laugh I'd cry.
post #5 of 6
Webmd is pretty widely considered a pharma shill, I thought.
post #6 of 6
And the website it's talking about on web md says, very clearly and right at the top, that its sponsored by Merck? I'm not really getting the outrage.
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