Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Strategies of Astroturf Organizations 101



Take a quick look at the following website. It’s called iDECIDE: Supporting your weight loss

Here’s part of the About Us page text:


The iDECIDE website is designed to help people like yourself who are concerned about their weight and ready to make the necessary changes for weight loss. Here you will find information about how to work with your doctor to develop a healthy weight loss approach that is right for you.
I wonder who funds this project, the website. The About Us page doesn’t say who these people are. Doesn’t tell us if iDECIDE is a non-profit organization or a for-profit company. The look and feel of the site are 100% non-profit though.

A little further down the About Us page is the following text:


In addition, iDECIDE includes a listing of Canadian doctors who have indicated that they are interested in helping people who are trying to lose weight. Click on Doctors Who Can Help to find a doctor in your area. Our goal is to assist you with getting professional guidance in order to develop a healthy approach that may help you start winning at losing weight.

So here’s my question:

Why would someone who wants to lose weight need to find a special doctor online at a weight-loss website? The doctors listed have indicated that they’re interested in helping people lose weight…that would be most GPs, I suspect. Why is this group of doctors special?

A little research by a colleague found that an Australian version of this site also exists. The landing page has the same graphics, photos, feeling evoked as the Canadian site.

The Aussies claim this to be the raison d’etre of their iDECIDE website:


This has been developed for people who are ready to lose weight with their doctor, and want to keep it off for good!

Another list of Australian doctors who have a special interest in helping people lose weight. Something smells fishy, no?

Yeah, it does.

Here’s the US version of the same campaign website.

While the Canadian site has absolutely no mention of the pharma interests that have funded it (I suspect since our direct-to-consumer drug advertising laws differ from the US),

and the Australian site has Abbott noted only in the footer ("'i Decide' is an initiative of Abbott Australasia in the interest of patient education and better health"),

the US site is actually housed at the Abbott URL.

iDECIDE.ca is a classic pharma-funded, fake grassroots organization (AKA, astroturf organization) posing as a non-profit working in the public’s best interest.

And to answer that question I asked 100 words ago: Why is the website directing people to specific doctors? I’m taking a wild guess here, but do you think maybe the doctors who are listed have been visited by cute pharma reps, handed a big pile of Meridia, Abbott's weight loss pills, and agreed to give them to their patients as a trial?

That’s all for today. Have a nice salad for dinner then go for a walk with your family.

8 Comments:

Blogger Herbinator said...

So we agree that physicians are simply over-priced drug salesmen. Is there something that can be done to bring clarity to such baiting activities?

June 16, 2005  
Blogger Robert Parr said...

Hello, just viewed your site. I think it is really nice and interesting. If you're interested you can view my weight loss plans. Its a tweight loss plans site. Have a good day!

October 12, 2005  
Blogger Roxo said...

Hello, just viewed your site. I think it is really nice and interesting. If you're interested you can view my lose weight fast. Its a tlose weight fast site. Have a good day!

October 12, 2005  
Blogger Robert Parr said...

Hello, just viewed your site. I think it is really nice and interesting. If you're interested you can view my low carb plan. Its a tlow carb plan site. Have a good day!

October 20, 2005  
Blogger yaya said...

Hello, just viewed your site. I think it is really nice and interesting. If you're interested you can view my diet pills. Its a tdiet pills site. Have a good day!

October 21, 2005  
Blogger Robert Parr said...

Hello, just viewed your site. I think it is really nice and interesting. If you're interested you can view my low carb diet. Its a tlow carb diet site. Have a good day!

October 21, 2005  
Blogger FDF said...

Butalbital is used to relieve anxiety, nervousness, and tension associated with anxiety disorders. Butalbital is also used to treat panic disorders.

January 16, 2006  
Anonymous Meridia Side Effects said...

My name is Jennifer Thomson and i would like to show you my personal experience with Meridia.

I am 24 years old. Have been on Meridia for 3 days now. Not worried about reports of heart attacks with no other history...if you are over weight then you are at risk for heart problems at any time!! I have already lost a little over 3lbs and plan on continuing to take until i lose about 15. I have added exercise and better eating habits.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
slightly jittery, sleepy but can't sleep well...this have already started to dissipate

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Jennifer Thomson

November 13, 2008  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home