Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Next up: AAFP to endorse e-cigarettes

I had a real bad feeling when the American Academy of Family Physicians closed our once excellent web site to public access. So I wasn’t all that surprised by their latest move …

How the World Works – Family Doctors go better with Coke - Salon.com

… directed to this story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer reporting that the American Association of Family Doctors has "a six-figure grant from the Coca-Cola Co. to create content about beverages and sweeteners for the academy's consumer Web site, FamilyDoctor.org."

From the AAFP press release: “The Consumer Alliance program is a way of working with interested companies to develop educational materials to help consumers make informed decisions so they can include the products they love in a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle," said AAFP President-elect Lori Heim, M.D., of Vass, N.C…

…The Consumer Alliance program also will create a new source of funding for AAFP, which, in recent years, has broadened its search for funding outside the pharmaceutical industry…”

I just sent these guys over $600 for my 1 year membership – to find out that the AAFP’s consumer health site is doing covert marketing. Next up – the health benefits of e-cigarettes.

Worst bit? Maybe this is an improvement over pharmaceutical funding.

I expect this will be my last year of AAFP membership.

Update: I received a standard response letter signed by AAFP President Lori Heim when I wrote the academy. It included a bit of further context ...

... I would finally note that this is not new territory for the AAFP. Over the past 4 years we have had funding relationships with Pepsi and McDonald's for support of the AIM program - and we have managed them very well in maintaining a positive image for the Academy while advancing our message about fitness, activity, and healthy choices. And Coca-Cola has been a corporate member of our Foundation for several years as well which is why we reached out to them initially.
So why not Philip Morris? These are publicly traded companies -- their mission is not public health. Their mission is to make money from people who buy Pepsi, Coke and McDonald's products.

The AAFP needs a reform agenda. It can't afford to live in the style it's grown accustomed to, so the AAFP needs to radically downsize.

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