By Marika Sboros
Of course, Australian physician Dr Joe Kosterich is right about Big Pharma and Big Food. Both have a right to make a living, he says. Just as he has the right and we all have the right.
And just as many of us have, Kosterich also has a healthy scepticism about the way these industries conduct themselves. They don’t have the right to mislead the public with false claims about their products, he says.
And they definitely don’t have to right to skew research in their favour – because that is scientific fraud. It puts profits before patients. Yet both industries chronically indulge in this form of aberrant behaviour.
Kosterich has been looking at lessons Big Food has learned from Big Pharma’s scare tactics, “disease mongering” and conflicts of interest.
One big, bad lesson is about best ways to silence what their proxies in academia call the “noisy group”. These are renegade doctors, dieticians and citizens who do not receive payment from processed food manufacturers, says Kosterich.
The industry, therefore, perceives them as a threat – and rightly so.
Another devilish lesson lies in halo effects that flow from “health washing”. It’s an iniquitous activity that is rampant in both industries. US “marketoonist” Tom Fishburne calls it a “close cousin to green washing”. It’s about “spinning a product to make it sound better than it is”.
And he should know.
Fishburne is a veteran marketer and cartoonist who started cartooning on the backs of business cases as a student at Harvard Business School. In various marketing roles at General Mills, Nestlé and others, he parodied the world of marketing in a weekly cartoon