Celebrities Tell Stories of Hope (on Pharma Industry Website)

Hope is a wonderful thing. Sharing stories of hope might be inspiring, even therapeutic. At worst, it certainly seems harmless enough. But does it matter who’s paying for the story telling?

Check out the Sharing Miracles website, “a blog of personal stories of miracles and hope.”

People confronting serious illness or disease need to know — perhaps more than anything else — that they are not alone. Help comes in many ways: through the counsel and care of a doctor, access to innovative new medicines and procedures, the support of loved ones, and the inspiration provided by others who have faced or are facing similar challenges.

Sharing Miracles is a forum for people to relate their own personal stories of hope and survival….

Most of the stories “shared” on the website are stories from celebrities and athletes: football legend Mike Ditka talks about surviving a heart attack and changing how he lived as a result; actress Meredith Baxter talks about her battle with breast cancer; and so on. Are these celebs making paid appearances on the site, or telling their stories out of the goodness of their hearts? The website gives no indication.

Further, as far as I can see, nothing on the website indicates who’s running it or funding it. But GlaxoSmithKline’s More Than Medicine blog suggests that PhRMA (the pharmaceutical industry association) is behind the site. The PhRMA website makes the sponsorship clear.

So, PhRMA isn’t exactly hiding the fact that they’re sponsoring the site. But the site itself certainly doesn’t advertise the fact.

And (as far as I can see) the site isn’t promoting any particular pharmaceutical (or even pharmaceuticals in general, really). But then again, who knows what messages are buried in there? And why would anyone spend money to produce a site like this if they didn’t think it promoted their interests? You would think that, in 2009, the pharmaceutical industry would be smart enough to know that it needs to be a little more transparent in its activities.

Thanks to John at the very useful Pharma Marketing Blog for pointing me to this story.

1 comment so far

  1. DarryleHuffman on

    I follow NASCAR and when cars painted with special cause paint schemes for races in which the car is being used the the primary sponsor is never mentioned even though they are paying for the car to race. They still have thier logo on the car but it is not prominate in the color scheme. Thier name is never mentioned first when it the driver mentions the car.
    It will promote thier interest because thier name becomes linked to the car. Why they donated the piant scheme may never be known. Either way it is good to see organizations take the time to give notice to causes. It does bring attention to some cause which does need the support but may not have the resources availible to them to do such acts.

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