Independent sources take a vacation from Times coverage

At HealthNewsReview.org we’re used to seeing health stories that lack multiple sources, rely heavily on news releases and neglect independent viewpoints. We’re admittedly not used to seeing such stories published in The New York Times, and yet the Gray Lady published three stories lacking independent viewpoints on Monday, August 17. We think it’s essential that […]

4 8/19/2015

What if we had an election and counted only half the ballots? When you’re burying research you’re also likely burying patients

Alan Cassels is a pharmaceutical policy researcher at the University of Victoria. He’s also one of our reviewers and a regular contributor to the blog. As a group that aims to monitor and hopefully improve health news reporting, we sometimes notice what doesn’t make the news. Clearly the sexiest, most headline-generating and most tweetable topics come from […]

2 8/18/2015

Coffee, colon cancer, and caveats about observational studies

A paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, “Coffee Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality in Stage III Colon Cancer,” is receiving a lot of news media attention, and much of it is incomplete on key points.  The researchers concluded: “Higher coffee intake may be associated with significantly reduced cancer recurrence and death in patients with stage III colon […]

1 8/18/2015

Behind the scenes of the Times’ takedown of a Coke-funded “front group”

A story published in the New York Times last week called attention to Coca-Cola’s relationship to a nonprofit that promotes the idea that lack of exercise, not diet, is the cause of the obesity epidemic. The Times and followup stories in other media focus on the many financial ties between Coke and influential physician-scientists that serve […]

2 8/13/2015

No “likes” from FDA on Kim Kardashian Instagram post; agency cites Canadian drug manufacturer over missing risk info

At first, a few media outlets criticized Kim Kardashian for hypocritically breaking her own 3-week-old social media promotion policy when she began plugging Diclegis, a morning sickness pill, on her Instagram account on July 20. That was no minor about face. With 40 million followers, the reality star and beauty entrepreneur has a special grade of […]

24 8/12/2015

Advocacy group spin may skew discussion on finasteride side effects

The following is a guest post by Dr. Richard Hoffman, a long-time story reviewer who’s been helping us knock down inflated claims from drug and device companies for years. This time, he’s raising questions about the harms attributed to a drug and whether the messages about those harms are evidence-based. There are many forces that […]

2 8/11/2015

Introducing the Health News Watchdog podcast

I started in radio news 42 years ago in Milwaukee.  Finally, I’m getting back into it – in a way – by introducing our first podcast on HealthNewsReview.org. The first episode features Dr. Hanna Bloomfield, who had a Howard Beale “mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” moment when she received […]

1 8/5/2015

Troubled BMJ news release on young fathers & early death risk

Shortly after praising a news release by The BMJ earlier today for emphasizing the limitations of an observational study, another news release for another journal published by BMJ is at the other end of the spectrum. “Fatherhood at young age linked to greater likelihood of mid-life death,” is the headline of a news release about […]


Medical journal news releases CAN make a difference

This week The BMJ sent journalists a news release, “Regular consumption of spicy foods linked to lower risk of death.” The second paragraph – the third sentence overall – of the news release read: “This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors call for more research […]

9 8/4/2015

21st Century Cures Act: A huge step backward for FDA standards

The following guest post is written by veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman. Trudy often writes about consumer safety protections and the media’s role in upholding those protections.  In early January Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, the new chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, dropped a big hint to the Associated […]


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