Natasha Singer’s story looks at ads for cancer centers that tout high cure rates and low risk but no evidence to back that up. Testimonials rule the message. She writes:
“In medical science, such anecdotal data would not be considered statistically valid. But ads for nonprofit medical centers are not held to scientific standards of evidence.
….If a drug maker ran an ad for a cancer medicine, Food and Drug Administration regulations would require the company to be able to support any superiority claims with substantial evidence from rigorous clinical studies.
But federal agencies cannot limit the ad claims made by nonprofit medical centers about their ability to cure people of diseases like cancer, according to the government’s main ad regulator, the Federal Trade Commission.
Cancer experts interviewed for this article say there are no comprehensive statistics showing that any one elite medical center has better overall cancer success rates than its competitors. “
It’s an important story. Read the whole thing at the link above. And don’t miss the great use of multimedia – with radio, TV and print ads included in the online story in the left margin.