Drug company funding for the Mental Health Council of Australia to run lobbying and disease awareness campaigns, The Age reports, raises "questions about whether the agendas of a consumer group and that of a multinational drug company are the same." Some of the companies that have funded the council include Pfizer, Janssen-Cilag, Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb. "Disease awareness campaigns are very important in countries like Australia where direct-to-consumer advertising is prohibited," said Melissa Raven, adjunct lecturer in public health at Flinders University in Adelaide. A spokesman for the peak drug industry lobby group, Medicines Australia, defended patient groups working with drug companies. "Patient groups and pharmaceutical companies have common goals, including treating and managing disease," the spokesman claimed. Others disagree. "The strategy is all about growing markets and increasing sales," says Dr Jon Jureidini, the chairman of the global watchdog on drug industry marketing, Healthy Skepticism.
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