Pharmaceutical Advertisers Harm Credibility?
Let’s be clear. I am not supported by pharmaceutical companies. No pharmaceutical company has ever paid me one cent. Got it? OK.
But let’s say that Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline did advertise here, would that pharmaceutical advertisement ruin my credibility?
HealthyPlace and Pharmaceutical Advertising
As most of you know, one of my main clients is HealthyPlace.com. I have a blog, Breaking Bipolar, there and I write a myriad of mental health articles for them as well. And yes, HealthyPlace does have pharmaceutical advertisers.
However, as I stated when I started working for HealthyPlace, they have an explicit editorial policy that states that none of their content will be dictated by advertisers. HealthyPlace has complete editorial freedom over their content. If this wasn’t the case, I really couldn’t work there.
And since I have worked at HealthyPlace (two-and-a-half years now) they have never once asked me to change an article in deference to a pharmaceutical, or any other, advertiser. I have repeatedly spoken about drugs, sometimes unkindly, and HealthyPlace has never once said, “Boo.” So, say what you will about them, I have no reason to believe their credibility is harmed due to pharmaceutical advertising.
Know Your Sources
Nevertheless, I have said time and again to know your sources. If a person is sponsored by a drug company it’s possible that the information he or she gives will be guided by financial motives. I have always felt this way and will always encourage people to check the background of any source.
Pharmaceutical Advertising and Credibility
Years ago when asked if I would take drug company money my answer was always, “no.” And the reason is because I don’t really like pharmaceutical companies and would never want to be seen as a shill for one.
Now though, I think my answer is different. I think depending on the specifics I would consider pharmaceutical advertising.
Because they have the money, honey.
Because in my field of mental health, they’re the ones with all the cash. They’re the ones who can actually afford to pay for my time. They’re the ones who actually might be able to compensate me for the hundreds of hours I spend on this blog. They’re the one who can keep me providing this information for you, for free.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not a fan of pharmaceutical companies and I still have a problem with how pharmaceutical companies in the mental health field, and elsewhere, operate, but I just admit to the economic realities of the situation.
And I know that I would never be tainted by their money. There is no question in my mind that I would write without deference to them.
Would I Lose My Credibility with Pharmaceutical Sponsorship?
So I throw the question to you – if I had pharmaceutical sponsorship, would I lose my credibility? Would you stop reading me if there were pharmaceutical ads? Would you stop believing what I have to say if you knew that drug companies were paying to advertise here?
What do you think?
Just to be clear, I’m not in talks with pharmaceutical companies at this time, this is just a discussion point.