5-star Friday: It’s the little things that can make for great health care journalism

We often cover big topics. Things like health care reform, the drug industry, and conflicts of interest, to name a few. But frequently we find big stories in things that, at first glance, seem minor and trivial, but clearly are not. Several of the 5-star stories we selected below serve as an important reminder that […]


Harvard researchers’ speculative, poop-based sports drink company raises questions about conflicts of interest

If you made a discovery that you thought could lead to a product and had named yourself CEO of a nascent company with plans to commercialize that product, would you have a financial interest in the company? Maybe not, according to Harvard University and its Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. My path to this revelation […]


Sponsored content: Boston Globe + Pfizer = News? Really?

A Pfizer biopharmaceutical scientist reads a letter from the daughter of a woman with Parkinson’s disease. The very real tribulations of the mother, as described by the daughter, are heart-wrenching. The scientist is clearly affected by the real-world devastation of a disease he knows best through his laboratory work. And the effect on the reader/viewer […]


GWU withdraws news release on negative text messaging study, then doubles down on PR spin

On Friday October 6, shortly after our reviewers called its news release about a text messaging study “an exercise in spin,” George Washington University (GWU) withdrew that news release without explanation. The following week, apparently after careful consideration, the news release was re-issued with a one-word change to the original: the addition of the word […]


Health care news releases may not tell the whole story: Merck edition

Derek Lowe, a biomedical researcher at Novartis, is talking “A bit about biopharma investing” today on his blog. It’s all about the problems inherent in making decisions based on drug company news releases. His comments are targeted at investors, who in turn are the main targets of these drug company announcements. But his logic could […]

2 10/12/2017

Because patient advocacy groups aren’t always what they seem: A quick guide to nonprofit sleuthing

Journalists shouldn’t take organizations they report on at face value. Rather, they should ask who calls the shots and who provides the funding. And they should report findings that call into question a group’s credibility. But as HealthNewsReview.org has repeatedly found, that essential legwork often doesn’t occur when it comes to patient advocacy groups. Most […]

1 10/11/2017

More evidence that women should be wary of ‘ovarian reserve testing’ events

A number of major news outlets reported on a new study in JAMA that determined ovarian reserve tests aren’t a good predictor of fertility among women trying to conceive naturally who have no history of infertility. Common biomarker tests to assess ovarian reserve–including antimüllerian hormone (AMH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)–are often given to women to assess their reproductive […]


Podcast: Allen Frances, MD – A psychiatrist’s take on the DSM, Pharma, and Donald Trump

Is President Donald Trump mentally ill? Do we really need over 500 psychiatric diagnoses? What do the changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or ‘DSM’ for short) over the past 60+ years say about psychiatry? The influence of industry? Us? This conversation with renowned psychiatrist, Allen Frances MD — although just […]


‘Ethical bordellos:’ Op-eds don’t always disclose Big Pharma conflicts of interest

Drug companies have been promoting their views on the nation’s op-ed pages via commentary writers who come across as neutral-sounding experts, and editors don’t always call out these industry mouthpieces for what they are. Pharma-friendly guest columns have appeared on editorial pages around the country without disclosure of the authors’ drug industry ties, including the […]


5-Star Friday: Reports of the death of investigative journalism have been greatly exaggerated

Who says investigative journalism is dead? (And, yes, I know the subtitle above is a misquote. It’s been investigated.) This brings up something that comes up again and again in my mind: both medicine and journalism are being hurt by being too rushed. Our collective health would improve tremendously, in my opinion, if our health […]


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