Posted by Gary Schwitzer in Health care journalism
USA Today’s Liz Szabo reports on the good and bad that can come from celebrity health crusades. Excerpt:
“Experts say most of actress Suzanne Somers’ advice in her new book, Knockout, is wrongheaded or even risky. Doctors and patient advocates say they’re concerned that the actress champions alternative therapies over those with proven value.”
But she also touches on health “campaigns” – for lack of a better word – involving Tom Cruise, Jenny McCarthy, Magic Johnson, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Lance Armstrong, Katie Couric and others.
Australian journalist Ray Moynihan has written quite a bit about his concerns about celebrity marketing of disease and of treatments. For example:
“Celebrities paid by drug companies to promote drugs, or ‘raise awareness’ about disease, should be subject to the same rules as direct-to-consumer advertising, which would mean prohibition in many nations and much more fulsome disclosure in the United States than is currently the case. At the very least, public disclosure of a product’s risks and benefits, and the magnitude of the celebrity’s fee, should be mandatory and routine.”