Health News Review
  • Dec 14 2011

    Lap-Band Billboards Finally Catch FDA’s Attention

    The following is a cross-post from the Reporting on Health website, written by one of our story reviewers, William Heisel, who publishes the excellent blog, William Heisel’s Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories. ——————————————————————————————————————————————————– For doctors selling risky cosmetic surgery procedures, using billboards to lure patients is just one more roll of the dice. This [...]

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  • Oct 13 2011

    The limitations of progression-free survival as an endpoint – NPR addresses

    On the NPR Shots blog, Scott Hensley addresses, “Avastin For Breast Cancer: Hope Versus False Hope.” Excerpt: Any day now FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is expected to make a final decision on Avastin’s fate. Women who said Avastin helped their breast cancer were out in force at a June hearing of an appeal of FDA’s [...]

  • Aug 16 2011

    FDA publishes “Communicating Risks & Benefits: An Evidence-Based User’s Guide”

    The FDA’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee, of which I’m a member, today published a book written by committee members, “Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User’s Guide.” The book is available online as a pdf file. My chapter was on the tendency for journalists, when reporting on health care interventions, to exaggerate benefits and minimize [...]

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  • Aug 10 2011

    Laurel & Hardy and prostate cancer chemoprevention

    In the sometimes Laurel-and-Hardy-like (“Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!”) interactions between industry, government, and clinicians, there’s a debate brewing about whether drugs used to treat benign prostate problems (BPH) should also be used to try to prevent cancer of the prostate. (Photo credit: The drugs are of the class called 5-alpha [...]

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  • Aug 3 2011

    Concerns over FDA loosening conflict of interest rules

    The FDA is apparently considering loosening the conflict-of-interest rules that apply to members of FDA advisory committee members. These rules have set limits on the financial arrangements that members can have with companies in the health care industry. The Project on Government Oversight wrote about the issue last week. If the perceived problem is that [...]

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  • Jul 11 2011

    “Think Inside the Box” – call for plain English facts labels about Rx drugs

    Catchup from last week: Dartmouth’s Steve Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz had a New York Times op-ed piece last week, “Think Inside the Box,” promoting their terrific idea of “a simple model” for conveying “independent, plain-English facts” about prescription drugs. They write: “The government should follow through on proposals to require fact boxes, similar to those [...]

  • Jun 28 2011

    Clash between data and emotion in FDA decision on Avastin for metastatic breast cancer

    Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society, who drew raves on Twitter today for tweeting from the FDA meeting about whether Avastin should be allowed for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, also blogged about his day’s experience. “As one might expect, the experience ran the gamut from deeply felt emotions to cold hard [...]

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  • Apr 22 2011

    7 health news web gems to wrap up the week

    On Maggie Mahar’s Health Beat Blog, see Naomi Freundlich’s piece, “New Health Indicators Site is a ‘Treasure Trove’ of Valuable Data.” On the Dose of Digital blog, see Jonathan Richman’s excellent analysis, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Pharma Social Media Statistics.” The FDA has announced a webinar for next Thursday (April 28) on its “Bad Ads [...]

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  • Feb 9 2011

    When drug companies don’t do the studies they promised to do to get approval

    Alicia Mundy of the Wall Street Journal reports: “Federal officials Tuesday questioned companies that make six cancer drugs about their failure to complete follow-up studies they promised to conduct in exchange for accelerated approval.” The story reminds readers why these promised follow-up studies are essential: “The meeting took place in the shadow of a recent [...]

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  • Nov 11 2010

    Stories question medical device safety

    Journalists Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer published an important article in the BMJ entitled, “Why the FDA can’t protect the public.” Much of their emphasis was on medical device makers failing to properly conduct safety studies before or after marketing approval. On the local level, another fine example of TV reporting came from Jeff Baillon [...]

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