Cautions about celebrity health advice

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USA Today’s Liz Szabo reports on the good and bad that can come from celebrity health crusades. Excerpt:

“Experts say most of actress Suzanne Somers’ advice in her new book, Knockout, is wrongheaded or even risky. Doctors and patient advocates say they’re concerned that the actress champions alternative therapies over those with proven value.”

But she also touches on health “campaigns” – for lack of a better word – involving Tom Cruise, Jenny McCarthy, Magic Johnson, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Lance Armstrong, Katie Couric and others.

Australian journalist Ray Moynihan has written quite a bit about his concerns about celebrity marketing of disease and of treatments. For example:

“Celebrities paid by drug companies to promote drugs, or ‘raise awareness’ about disease, should be subject to the same rules as direct-to-consumer advertising, which would mean prohibition in many nations and much more fulsome disclosure in the United States than is currently the case. At the very least, public disclosure of a product’s risks and benefits, and the magnitude of the celebrity’s fee, should be mandatory and routine.”

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December 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Thanks for the posting.
I agree 100% with Ray Moynihan regarding holding celebrities accountable in some way, or at least subjecting them to the same rules.
Although I work in clinical trials, I do beleive there are other methods that should be used in addition to medical means.