Monday, June 12, 2006

Hospital drug ads make some critics feel ill

From The Gazette (Montreal):

It's safe to assume that most people don't have sex on the brain in a hospital emergency room.

That might explain why the Viagra ad in the ER area at the Montreal General Hospital once caused a bit of a fuss.

"It wasn't the ad itself," said Francoise Chagnon, director of professional services at the McGill University Health Centre.

But doctors felt it didn't belong in a clinical area. "When you looked at the big ad, it kind of stood out right when you came to register in the emergency room and that wasn't appropriate," Chagnon said.

That incident aside, Chagnon said commercial advertising in the hospital hasn't sparked complaints. But the revenue-generating practice isn't without critics.

In the late 1990s, the Montreal General began accepting commercial advertising as a way to drum up new revenue. Some other cash-strapped hospitals are doing the same thing. However, even among hospitals there is no consensus on the practice.

"This is not the way we should be raising money," said Paul Saba, a spokesperson for the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice.


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