Health News Review
  • Oct 31 2012

    More Pfizer Pfun

    The Alt_Mentalities website published a piece, “Lemons into Lemonade: How an off-label marketing fine can be good for business,” tracking Pfizer’s journey through fines for off-label marketing of Neurontin and, later, for Lyrica and other drugs. Punchline question in the piece: “Was taking the hit for off-label marketing in 2004 all part of a plan to boost [...]

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  • Aug 28 2012

    Ethics of commercial screening tests: choice should be informed by evidence, not advertising claims

    An opinion piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine, “Ethics of Commercial Screening Tests,” makes a strong, clear statement about the problems with many screening test campaigns offered by commercial companies in partnerships with churches, pharmacies, shopping malls or trusted medical organizations. Excerpts: “Particular concerns about “the use of ultrasonography (for example, ultrasonography of the [...]

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  • Jul 5 2012

    Iain Chalmers on publication bias

    Iain Chalmers, British health-services researcher, and founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, recently wrote a column, “Publish or Perish.”  Excerpts: “…failure to publish research results is by far the most common and worrying form of scientific and ethical misconduct in health research – and it has had lethal consequences. Anecdotal evidence of publication bias has existed [...]

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  • Jun 27 2012

    The saga of the chocolate shoes and the MA drug company gift ban

    Sounds like a children’s bedtime story, doesn’t it? WBZ-TV in Boston reports, “Time To Reverse Pharmaceutical Gift Ban?” Excerpt: Supporters say a gift ban was needed to change a too-cozy relationship between drug companies and doctors. But critics say it’s costing the Massachusetts economy millions. … “It is costing our state tens of millions of [...]

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  • May 31 2012

    Medical research ethics whistleblower Nancy Olivieri honored again

    One of the saddest stories about drug company influence on clinical trials and on the integrity of research is the story of Dr. Nancy Olivieri. In 2009, the American Association for the Advancement of Science gave her its award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility. AAAS wrote, at the time: In 1997, while conducting a clinical [...]

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  • May 14 2012

    Trying to keep up with health care ethics (mis)adventures

    Read Bill Heisel’s column, “Journalists Bag a Big One:  The American Pain Foundation.”  Excerpt: The American Pain Foundation – an industry funded promoter of painkillers masquerading as a patient advocacy organization – closed its doors last week after it became the target of a U.S. Senate panel inquiry. The action by the U.S. Senate Finance [...]

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  • Mar 21 2012

    “Too much ownership of data and secrecy involved”

    That’s what one author writes in a series of papers published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes this month addressing issues involving the integrity of research data. Yale’s Harlan Krumholz writes: “Patients facing a decision deserve information that is based on all of the evidence.”  Further excerpt: Every day, patients and their caregivers are faced [...]

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  • Feb 22 2012

    Bioethics journal controversy reminds writers to be wary

    The following is a cross-post of a piece originally published on the Reporting on Health site by William Heisel, who is one of our story reviewers on ———————————————————————————————————- Academic journals often have authoritative names: Cardiology, Neurology, Pediatrics. Not to be outdone by the bold founders of the origins-of-everything journal Cell, a group of academics [...]

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  • Feb 9 2012

    Do patients always get all of the information they need from their physician?

    The following is a guest post by Harold DeMonaco, MS, a member of our editorial team, and Director of the Innovation Support Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences he holds a bachelors degree in pharmacy and a masters degree in therapeutics.  He has [...]

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  • Jan 12 2012

    Medical research misconduct a hot topic today

    The BMJ reports: “More than one in ten (13%) UK based scientists or doctors have witnessed colleagues intentionally altering or fabricating data during their research or for the purposes of publication, while 6% say they are aware of possible research misconduct at their institution that has not been properly investigated, reveals a BMJ survey published [...]

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