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Consensus Reports From the Convinced: Manipulating the Information Transfer Process for Drug Promotion

Robert S. Stern, MD; Kenneth A. Arndt, MD; Richard B. Baughman, MD
JAMA. 1991;265(1):30. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460010030022.
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To the Editor. —  The use of many potent but toxic drugs outside their established indications has both advocates and skeptics within the medical profession. In an effort to provide up-to-date data about appropriate drug use, organizations such as the American Medical Association and the US Pharmacopeia publish drug evaluations that reflect the medical literature and the opinions of expert consultants.1,2 The consensus conference is another means of addressing controversies about the use of medical therapies. Typically, at consensus conferences, proponents of alternative therapeutic approaches present data to a panel of nonpartisan experts.3 The panel then promulgates what it believes are reasonable practices based on current knowledge and suggests what additional data are needed to adequately assess the appropriate role of controversial treatments.3,4Recently, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, Hanover, NJ, distributed a three-page report entitled "Consensus Report: Cyclosporine-A for Psoriasis" to selected American dermatologists.5 According to the accompanying


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