At the recent conference of the British Medical Association, Dr. Langdon‐Down, of South Middlesex, submitted the report of the Ethical Committee on behalf of the Council, upon the ethics of indirect advertising by the medical profession. The report mentioned a number of restrictions which it was thought advisable to impose as regards advertising by members of the profession. It was stated that in discussions in the Press on matters of public importance relating to the medical questions it was not necessary that the names of the medical writers or informants should be given. The newspapers, it was contended, could give the necessary assurance to their readers as to the professional standing of the authority quoted without mentioning names.—Dr. Fothergill moved that certain recommendations in the report be referred back for reconsideration, including that which related to medical men not attaching their signatures to letters and communications they sent to the Press on medical subjects. On that latter point he suggested that before the report was issued the council should approach the Press Association to get their views on the question. What the Press required was not the advertising of an inferior practitioner. What they desired was to get an adequate medical opinion. The Press said: “If you allow a doctor to go to the Church Congress and talk openly there of birth control, should you not allow that same doctor to put into the public Press a letter over his signature?”—Dr. Lyndon hoped the representative body would not be led away by Dr. Fothergill. The question of having a conference with the Press was brought before the council, who were all against it.—Sir Jenner Verrall said he did not think what was suggested would be a substitute for the indirect advertising complained of.—Dr. Bishop Harman expressed agreement with the contention that it was the name that really mattered in these contributions to the Press. An eminent medical man wrote to The Times a brilliant letter on an important medical subject, and signed himself “Veritas.” It never caused a ripple on the water. They thought it was a gas mantle or something, and there was no punch behind it. Three things mattered—what you say, how it is said, and who says it, and the last is the only thing that really matters.—The report was adopted with the exception of that part relating to medical men's names being attached to letters and communications sent to the Press. That section of the report was referred back for consideration, with the object of seeing how far it was possible to depart from anonymity.
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 1924, MCB UP Limited