Big Pharma’s Newest Marketing Tactic: Infiltrating Soap Operas Like General Hospital

May 18, 2017

(Vox) – Last March, Vinay Prasad, a doctor in Portland, Oregon, caught wind of an episode on the long running soap opera General Hospital. One of the main characters on the show, a fellow at his hospital told him, had been diagnosed with an extremely rare bone marrow disorder, polycythemia vera. Prasad’s mind started spinning. And he felt suspicious. Of all the diseases out there, why would the writers at General Hospital feature an illness that affects only of two in 100,000 people?  So Prasad and his colleague Sham Mailankody began to search for answers. They published their jaw-dropping findings in a new paper in JAMA: Polycythemia vera got a mention on America’s oldest soap opera because a drug company, Incyte, asked it to.

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