“Celebrity sickness” campaigns will always be less than truthful if they fail to disclose who’s paying the bills for the campaign. When journalists join in by giving free advertisiing – disguised as news – to drug-company sponsored celebrity campaigns without disclosing the drug company funding, it is a travesty. I have written about how CNN failed to disclose former NFL-er Joe Theismann’s drug company support on a tour promoting prostate health.
The latest example I’ve seen was in The Oregonian last week. The paper ran a story that proclaimed that “Actress Sally Field joins the women who are fighting osteoporosis with medicine, supplements and exercise.” Not surprisingly, there was an overt plug for a drug: “Field chose to take Boniva, a once-a-month medication from Roche Therapeutics.” And the paper let her get away with this: “I feel it’s kind of a miracle.”
Nowhere did the paper mention that Roche pays for the former Flying Nun to sprout her wings for its drug Boniva, something that is easily found on the Web.
Readers of The Oregonian deserve better. The “Nun”, proclaiming miracles, is just an actress being paid in a new role, following a script.