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Ever Buy Drugs from a Drugstore? Beware of New Stealth Marketing!

Pharmaceutical companies will do just about anything to keep their coffers filled with money. In the process, they'll buy the loyalty of your doctors, pay off your elected state officials and ignore federal law.

A recent lawsuit filed in California has identified a new plan: A slealth marketing campaign accusing drugstores owned by Albertson's and Osco of being paid by pharmaceutical companies for calling patients or sending them letters urging them to take their medications, refill them or have expired prescriptions renewed. In one specific case, companies urged customers to switch from the now generic drug Prevacid to the newer, more expensive Nexium.

The San Diego-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC), the consumer group who filed the lawsuit, reports Albertsons is paid between $3 and $4.50 a letter and $12 to $15 per call. Moreover, the group accuses the drug companies of approving the wording of the letters and phone calls.

Although an Albertsons spokeswoman denied the charges, the PRC obtained a letter that told the customer, "Our records indicate your prescription for Plavix is about to run out. You should also know that there are no refills left on your prescription."

A disclaimer at the bottom of the letter says the mailing is supported by the company that makes the drug, and it gives the customer the option to not receive further mailings. Still, the PRC argued that "burying the pharmaceutical company's sponsorship in the small print of a notice that looks like it's being mailed to you by Albertsons is outright deception."

I know you are much smarter than to fall fo those tactics. Stay away from the drug model and keep seeking the truth with natural solutions that address the cause of your health problems.

Chicago Sun-Times September 27, 2004

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