Andrew Holtz updates us on what he calls Pfizer’s “attempts to co-opt journalists” by sponsoring various journalism “events.”
As Holtz notes, it’s an old and sore subject with me. Several concerned journalists within the past two years have criticized the National Press Foundation (NPF) for accepting Pfizer money for all-expenses-paid trips for journalists to come to Washington to learn about cancer and Alzheimer’s disease issues – both of which topics are in Pfizer’s product line. NPF has now started accepting Novo Nordisk money for a journalism event on diabetes issues as well.
I was scheduled to meet with NPF staff to discuss my concerns last January but the meeting was cancelled because of a DC snowfall. I have simply been too busy to continue to pursue this issue and have let it gather dust, so I am pleased to see that others will not let it die.
Indeed, we should be having an international dialogue on pharma’s influence – something I wrote about last year after an international “Selling Sickness” conference in Amsterdam.
One international voice has weighed in – Italian journalist Maria Amelia Beltramini Boveri – whom I met at a European health journalism event in the UK, argues against pharma-sponsored press events. She encourages a discussion on a listserv of European journalists.