Premature Alzheimer’s drug predictions – and Reuters plays right along

There’s a reason why we urge journalists to include independent perspectives in all health care news stories.

Reuters provides a fresh example of what happens when you don’t.

You end up not challenging a drug company executive’s comments that:

  • he “hopes to launch a new Alzheimer’s medicine in 2017 in what would be the first new drug for the condition in more than a decade.”
  • “he expected the drug to have annual worldwide sales of considerably more than $1 billion, if it is approved.”

That is quite a leap, given that Phase III trials have just begun.

The story ends this way:

“Health ministers from the Group of Eight countries last week set a goal of finding a cure or a disease-modifying therapy by 2025 – a target that is seen as ambitious given that scientists are still struggling to understand the fundamental biology of Alzheimer’s.”

When I saw news of the G8 announcement last week, this is exactly the kind of hype I thought we might see.  I just didn’t think it would happen this quickly.

And, of course, if Reuters publishes it, it soon shows up on Fox News, on Yahoo.com, and on other news sources.

Hat tip to MedPage Today’s Morning Break column for alerting us to this story.

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