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March 1986

Pediculicide Performance, Profit, and the Public Health

Author Affiliations

National Pediculosis Association PO Box 149 Newton, MA 02161

Arch Dermatol. 1986;122(3):259-261. doi:10.1001/archderm.1986.01660150037009

A glance at the full-page advertising in the public health, education, or nursing journals published in 1985 makes it clear how fiercely competitive the pediculicide market is today. Unfortunately, promotional literature generated by pharmaceutical companies vying for a share of that market has been the primary resource for many health professionals dealing with head lice on the front lines—to the detriment of establishing consistent protocols for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Assured by the manufacturers that pediculicides constitute fully effective treatment and by the medical literature that head lice do not transmit disease, physicians have deemed pediculosis of low importance both as a topic of research and in clinical practice.1 At the same time, anxious to eliminate a distasteful infestation, patients are desperate to believe in any promised cure-all. As a result, we have all been fair game for misleading pharmaceutical information. We have proceeded on the basis of too

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