“Selling Sickness” Conference Comes to Washington, D.C.

Seven years ago, Australia was the site of the Congress on Disease Mongering. In 2010, Amsterdam played host to the Selling Sickness conference. And next month, from Feb. 20-22, Washington, D.C. is where like-minded folks will gather for Selling Sickness 2013: People Before Profits.

These confabs reflect the growing interest in many quarters to rein in the corrupt, misguided and patronizing elements of medicine and the delivery of health care. Reformers and drug industry critics meet to challenge anti-patient practices and to discuss strategies to overcome them.

Among the topics under discussion will be “disease mongering,” the inflation of a condition into a dire and treatable problem — an issue we often cover-here, here and heremisleading journalistic standards (learn how to read medical stories with a critical eye at HealthNewsReview.org,), overtreatment and overdiagnosis, whistleblowers, new roles for advocates, clinical trials, new areas of conflict of interest areas, igniting citizen outrage and more.

Panels and workshops welcome not only researchers and activists, but students and anybody interested in being informed and active in the management of their health care and the health-care industry.

Among the many notable speakers are:

  • Alan Cassels, pharmaceutical policy researcher at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and author of “Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease”
  • Nancy Olivieri, professor of pediatrics, medicine and public health sciences at the University of Toronto, and renowned whistleblower about the potential dangers of a drug under study
  • Gary Schwitzer, founder of HealthNewsReview.org and medical journalist/media watchdog
  • Sidney M. Wolfe, Director, Health Research Group at Public Citizen , a nonprofit that lobbies for citizen rights and interests

Selling Sickness runs from Feb. 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. Reduced hotel rates are available, but they expire Jan. 31, so if you’re interested in attending, register soon. The advance cost is $275 or $100 for students with ID. If you register onsite, the cost is $375.

For more information, link to the Selling Sickness site.

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