Health News Review
  • Nov 9 2010

    The ink isn’t dry on the lung CA screening study, but the marketing has begun

    On an American Cancer Society blog, David Sampson, ACS director of medical and scientific communications, writes: “It’s only been a few days since researchers released preliminary results of a major trial of early detection of lung cancer in heavy smokers using CT scans. At the time, the American Cancer Society and others (including the authors themselves) expressed cautious optimism, with emphasis on the cautious, saying that alth…

  • Dec 30 2009

    Critical coverage of fast-food chains’ weight loss marketing campaigns

    If you’ve had a TV on at all in the past week, you’ve probably seen the new Taco Bell commercial with the woman claiming to have lost 54 pounds on her Taco Bell “drive-thru diet.” An ABCNews.com story did a good job taking a critical look at campaigns like this one or its forerunner – the guy who claims to have lost a lot of weight on a Subway sandwich diet. Excerpts: “But dieticians are on the fence abou…

  • May 16 2012

    The marketing of anemia drugs – a story we shouldn’t forget

    In an opinion piece on TheScientist.com, Daniel W. Coyne writes, “Amgen’s incomplete report on an early major trial of epoetin misled the medical community about the anemia drug’s risks and benefits—and helped make Amgen rich.” In the book, “How We Do Harm,” Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, writes quite a bit about hemoglobin-building drugs.  He discusses: “the …

  • Jun 8 2012

    Examples of medical marketing for the week: full body skin cancer scans, robotic hysterectomy

    Both of these were sent to me by journalists: An email pitch letter from a medical group: Medical Office has First Full Body Scanner to Protect Against Skin Cancer Dear xxxxx, We thought that this might make for a very interesting and informative article. With the approach of summer break, this is a time when most people head outdoors. It’s important for people to remember to protect their families against one of the most common forms of c…

  • Aug 6 2010

    Which drug marketing is misleading this week?

    The Dow Jones Newswire carries a story that tells us: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Novartis AG’s (NVS, NOVN.VX) use of a Facebook tool on the website for cancer drug Tasigna violated regulations by presenting misleading information about the drug. The agency also said in letters posted on its website this week that Novartis used a misleading brochure for its blood-pressure drug Exforge, and that AstraZeneca PLC (AZN, …

  • Feb 10 2011

    Pioneer Press publishes my call for balance in cancer screening messages

    …ally harmful for some readers. When the Pioneer Press reported “Hastings hospital’s mammogram parties offer women a dose of pampering to calm the nerves (January 19, 2011),” it quoted two different hospital marketing people promoting their “Mingle & Mammograms” parties. The story described pampering, appetizers, chocolate, sparking cider or wine, flowers, swag bags, massages, foot reflexology, and cuticle para…

  • Jul 14 2006

    Consumer-driven Health Care Marketing Disguised As News

    The Star Tribune bought a UnitedHealth Group news release hook, line and sinker this week. United announced the findings of a three-year study of “consumer-driven health care plans.” It reported “that the cost to employers per member in a high-deductible plan declined 3 to 5 percent, while increasing 8 to 10 percent for others.” The paper provided no details of the group surveyed. How old were they? How well-educated w…

  • 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 sales for forthcoming Lyrica, now the star performer in the Pfizer…

  • May 3 2013

    Knee replacement surgery isn’t like peeling an apple; things young prospective patients should know

    …many other viewers.  I may choose to pursue knee replacement surgery someday (maybe some day soon if my once-torn ACL in one knee and torn meniscus in the other knee keep barking at me).  But I’m going to want more than marketing wizardry to convince me of any given device or any given approach. The ads get cute with the young ages of the people depicted.  Yes, there are young people with knee arthritis and, of those, there is a smaller sub…

  • Jan 27 2011

    Mingle & mammograms parties – more incomplete info promoting screening

    …#8216;Mingle & Mammograms’ parties offer food, drink and spa treatments to ease the fears and discomfort associated with the procedure, and to encourage women to get screened every year.” It’s hospital marketing. And the story quotes several hospital marketing people. So it’s hospital marketing through the newspaper – unpaid for. The story nods – briefly – in the direction of a discussion of evid…




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