Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 3

Mar.

1939]
Mar. 1939]
EDITORILLS: ETHICS iNADVERTISING'
EDITORIALS: ETHICS IN ADVERTISING
277
277

different investigators is highly favourable. 'The reported evidence at present regarding


Of the cases treated early in the paroxysmal the efficacy of treating whooping-cough with
stage about 85 per cent are definitely bene- pertussis vaccine is too meagre to allow of
fited; whereas, of those treated late in the d.ogmatic conclusions being drawn, and
disease, improvement is produced in about further work must be awaited.
40 per cent. ARNOLD BRANCH.

ETHICS IN ADVERTISING *, t,

W E feel free to confess that the adver- we have to make a decision, which decision
tising in our Journal gives us -more will not please everybody. We would however
concern than almost any other phase of our remind our readers of a. legend' hich, it is
work. Indeed, the matter has proved to be said, used to be displayed in the salo6ons and
most difficult. This is probably due to the dance-halls in the far'! Vest- dtrinig the
facts that, as compared with, say, fifty hey-day of" the mnirng fevaer-"Don't shoot
years 'ago, our standards have had to be the pianist, he is doing his best" !
altered, perhaps in some ways have become Advertising in a medical journal may be con-
more stringent, and advertising itself has sidered from three points of view-that of the
become a highly specialized calling. Medical advertiser, that of the reader, and that of the
science has in that time become more exact editors. The advertiser naturally wishes to
(perhaps we' should hope that it never will display his wares in a pleasing and effective
become perfectly exact!)- and more critical; manner, in- a journal that has a high standing
advertising, due to -competition and the and a- wide circulation, and he looks for sales.
spreading of pseudo-scientific conceptions, If he 'is wise he will be conservative in his
has become more assertive, tends to over- statements, not exaggerating the metits of
state, and has become more suggestive, more his products, and hot using illustrations
psychological. Medical science and medical which suggest conclusions that the facts do
advertising are, therefore, bound to clash at not warrant. He should hxot base his state-
times. How important this "clash" is in ments on articles and experimental work in
any given case depends on circumstances. which the medical profession have no faith.
The Journal has a conscientious Committee Only the con;clusions of world-famous atithor-
on Advertising, and no advertising matter ities' should be accepted, and not always
is accepted until it has the sanction of a theirs. The fact that certain work is pub-
majority of this committee. Nevertheless, lished in a foreign jou4i&al giv6 it no extra
'

once in a while, something objectionable weight.' This fault in advertising is not so


slips by. Sometimes advertisers (who are likely to appear in thei case of the larger
all under contract with us) send their copy drug-manufacturing houses which have a
in at the last minute, too late for supervision, competent medical staff;- it is more evident
and it goes directly to the printer, who has in the case of those which have to depend on
by this time the Journal set up and in the a non-medical" advertisement writer. Again,
press. The new copy must go in, otherwise advertisers in medical journals would 'do
there is a gap in the advertising pages. well to keep abrea;st of the times. In some
However, if under these circumstances we ways they do, notably, in the case of hor-
have to take exception to any statements mones and vitamins, the discovery of which
this matter is adjusted before the next has been a Godsend to the manufacturing
appearance of any particular advertisement. chemist. He has in these products something
The selection and exhibition of advertising which he only can prepare in effective form,
matter is not so simple as appears on the which have an appeal to both the medical and
surface. lay public, and have a definite sphere of action.
Then, we have to meet the criticisms of Advertisers do not keep abreast of the times
some of our readers, some of which seem to when they feature exploded ideas. "Uric acid"
us well taken, others, not. On certain points, used to be the slogan; now it is "Alkalin-
we find, opinions differ widely. Consequently, ization". These ideas should be dropped.
278 TEIF, C"ADUN MEDWAL AssociATioN JouRNAL (Mar. 1939
[Mar. 1939

They are out of date. It is impossible to forward against the truth of the statements
build up an alkali reserve in the body, and, made and substantiating their own views.
if you could, in many cases this would be It is not easy. We will not publish any
positively dangerous. statement in an advertisement which is
The medical reader, also, has his point of obviously untrue or grossly exaggerated.
view. He wishes to be informed as to the There must be no illustration which by lan-
recent advances in therapeutics, but he is guage or by suggestion or implication is mis-
critical of unsupported statements. Above leading. We do not advertise remedies
all, he resents being instructed by manu- which time has proved to be useless. In
facturing drug houses on physiology, path- the case of compound remedies we must
ology and how to handle his patients. know the names of their active ingredients,
Rightly, he feels that he has been sufficiently though not necessarily for publication.
trained in college and in the school of ex- We are particularly critical in the case of
perience to decide such matters for himself. remedies which are advertised to the
Perhaps, some medical practitioners are too general public. Where we, or our readers,
credulous (or is it laziness?) when they accept take exception to the character of an
advertisements at their face value. Un- advertisement we write to the manu-
fortunately, a medical journal has to accept facturers pointing out the statements to
a certain responsibility for the character of which objection has been taken and asking
the advertising matter it presents, but we their cooperation in revising them. We
respectfully submit that the medical reader are glad to say that the vast majority of
also has his responsibility. After all, he is the manufacturing drug houses we approach
the final judge. In many cases he would do receive our criticisms in a friendly spirit.
as well and would spare the purses of his They seem genuinely desirous- of making
clients if he would write out his own pre- their advertisements acceptable to the pro-
scriptions and not order, say, No. 22 (X.Y.Z. fession, and realize that when their state-
and Co.). In all cases he should examine ments do not carry conviction they are of
the advertisements critically and decide for little value.
himself as to their value. No one else can That the better-class manufacturing drug
do this so well. concerns realize that it is to their interest
Now, coming to the Journal. Medical and indeed a duty that they owe to the
journals, like all others, depend for their public to see that their advertisements do
existence, in the last analysis, on their not advance false claims is shown by the
advertising. It is, of course, conceivable fact that some eighty proprietary medicine
that a journal might be published without firms associated with the Proprietary As-
such extraneous aid, but this is practically sociation of Great Britain have formulated
impossible, on account of the cost. The a code of basic principles which they
editors, therefore, have to act as a board have bound themselves to observe. These
of censors. Where a laboratory staff is are:
available to which the merits of a given "1. No advertising must contain any matter
preparation can be referred this phase of which in any way departs from truth as to the
the matter is considerably simplified. In character of the product or its suitability for the
Montreal we do not have such. We depend purposes for which it is recommended. Further,
in many ways on the Food and Drug De- no untruthful implications should be imported
partment at Ottawa and the Bureau of into any advertising matter.
Investigation of the American Medical 2. No advertisement should contain any matter
which could be regarded as a holding out for the
Association, to whom we gladly acknowledge prevention, cure or relief of serious diseases
our indebtedness. which should rightly be under the care of a
The rules by which the Journal is guided medical man, and, in particular, in accordance
are simple. Some may think they are not with the undertaking required by the rules of
drastic enough. If there are such let them the Association, no member shall:-
without prejudice sit down and write out (1) Advertise or offer for sale to the public any
medicine or treatment which is directly or
their specific objections, bearing in mind by implication held out as being effective
particularly what evidence they can bring for the treatment of Bright's disease,
1939]
Msai-:Mai.
199 EDrroRuLC6m-mm:wrs 279
~ ~
EDTRA
CTMET 279

cancer, tuberculosis or consumption, dia- an intimation that he or they is or are


betes, epilepsy, fits, locomotor ataxy, lupus prepared to diagnose by correspondence,
or paralysis, or for preventing any of those diseased conditions or any particular dis-
ailments or for producing any beneficial eased condition in a human being, or to
effect with respect to the course of any of receive from any person a statement of his
those ailments; for the cure of amenorrhcea, or any other person's symptoms or ill-
hernia, blindness, or any structural or health with a view to advising as to, or
organic ailment of the auditory system; providing for the treatment of, such ill-
for procuring the miscarriage of women; health by correspondence; or to treat by
for the treatment of habits associated with correspondence any of the ailments speci-
sexual excess or indulgence, or of any all- fied in paragraph (1) above."
ment associated with those habits.
(2) Publish or cause to be published any We should like to see something of this
advertisement or send or cause to be sent sort here.
to any person any circular which contains A.G.N.

tbitorial Comments
Periodic Health Xxantion and in that State they have sterilized- nearly as
Ten years ago the Canadian Medical Associa- many persons as have been so treated in all the
tion organized a Department of Periodic Health other States put together. The first study of
Examinations. Working in cooperation with a results covered a group of 6,000 patients, and the
number of insurance companies of Canada, ar- facts revealed encouraged the view that steriliza-
rangements were made whereby a complete tion was a protection rather than a punishment,
physical examination was made available to a that no untoward results occurred, and that the
certain number of policy holders, the examina- difficulties anticipated did not develop.
tion being carried out by the doctor of choice, The latest study covers about 8 more years of
to whom was paid a fee of $4.00. Later on, this experience in this work and includes several
fee was increased to $5.00. thousand more operations. It supports in every
Having demonstrated the usefulness of the respect the original conclusions that sterilization
service, an independent organization was set up is effective in checking the multiplication of the
in 1931, known as the Canadian Medical Insti- feeble-minded, and lesseing the destructive re-
tute, Dr. H. M. Harrison being appointed sults of parenthood in families handicapped by
Director. During the past eight years, more mental disease. The compulsory sterilization
than 3,000 Canadian doctors have participated applies only to those admitted to state institu-
in the work, receiving in the aggregate more tions for the insane or feeble-minded, and only
than $200,000. Approximately 7,000 examina- to a selected number of these. Those are se-
tions are mnade yearly for each of which a fee lected who are not likely to stay long in hospital,
of $5.00 is paid. According to the best informa- and therefore need the operation as a proteetion
tion available to us, the participating Insurance to their families and society generally. Many
Companies, policy holders and the medical pro- such patients have expressed their gratitude at
fession engaged in this service are highly this relief. It was found that only one out of
pleased. every seven who could be followed up had raised
It was a privilege for the Canadian Medical any objection, and in no instance was it based on
Association to be responsible for the organiza- rational grounds.
tion and development of this program which The largest group of patients came from the
apparently is of real value to many Canadian ranks of vagrants, unemployables and unskilled
people. T. C. ROUTLEY labour. The fact that two-thirds of those
sterilized were committed as insane, whilst only
Sterilization in Californa one-third were committed as feeble-minded, is
The Human Betterment Foundation of Cali- because, like all the other States, California
fornia for some years have been studying the makes better provision for its insane. The
actual and potential danger of the enormous
results of sterilization in California State Insti- numbers of feeble-minded outside of institutions
tutions, and have now issued a report of their is commented on.
findings.* Eugenic sterilization has been sys- These studies fully justify the conclusion that
tematically enforced in California since 1909, sterilization must be included as indispensable
Twemty-eight Years of Sterilization in California. in the struggle against mental disease, de-
P. Popenoe and . S. Gosney. 47 pp. $0.25. ficiency and dependency. H.E.M.