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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 51 (2009) 6, 407 - 411

Short report

An analysis of advertisements for psychotropic drugs in the Dutch Journal of Psychiatry ('Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie')

W. Vandereycken

summary
background
Through the marketing of psychotropics the pharmaceutical industry is able to influence the way in which psychiatrists practise their profession.
aim To look at the image of psychiatry as reflected in advertisements for psychotropics.
method Quantitative and qualitative analysis of the advertisements for psychotropics in the Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie between 1999 and 2006.
results On average 6 per cent of the total number of pages was given over annually to advertisements of psychotropics. The number of pages used for these advertisements changed over the years, with a sharp decline between 2002 and 2004. Before 2002 the majority of advertisements was for antidepressants, but later most of them were for antipsychotics. Three-quarters of the illustrations for antidepressants featured women whereas three-quarters of the illustrations for antipsychotics featured men. In general, the advertisements were of an 'emotional' nature and surprisingly few of them contained any scientific information.
conclusion The advertisements for psychotropics portrayed a stereotyped image implying that it is mainly women who are depressed and mainly men who are psychotic. In its advertisements the pharmaceutical industry seeks primarily emotional reactions and uses hardly any scientific arguments. We wonder if the editorial boards of scientific journals should perhaps adopt a more critical attitude to these kinds of advertisements.

 

 

keywords advertisements, psychotropics, psychiatric journal