Note to our followers: Our nearly 13-year run of daily publication of new content on came to a close at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. But all of the 6,000+ articles we have published contain lessons to help you improve your critical thinking about health care interventions. And those will be still be alive on the site for a couple of years.

How easy it is to be misled by Medicare Advantage marketing

Since I’ve started writing more about Medicare now that I am more learned and experienced with the program as a person of that age group, I want to share an important piece from the Center for Medicare Advocacy. The Center has published a series of articles “to counter-balance Medicare Advantage industry advertising.” Medicare Advantage plans […]


A machine-versus-doctors fixation masks important questions about artificial intelligence

Next time you go to the doctor, remember to bring your genome card.  What, you don’t have one? Of course you don’t. Wallet-sized cards containing a person’s genetic code don’t exist.  Yet they were envisioned in a 1996 Los Angeles Times article, which predicted that by 2020 the makeup of a person’s genome would drive […]


After a year on Medicare, advice for journalists on stories that need to be told

The annual Medicare open enrollment period ends soon.  America’s seniors have faced a blizzard of dismaying news about the program. Here are some excerpts from newsworthy stories that you should be aware of. The $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information – Pro Publica. Excerpt: “The federal government recently redesigned […]


Why hire a full-time health reporter when you can buy news off the shelf?

While somewhere there is still some important investigative reporting going on in some local TV stations, here is a fresh warning to anyone who gets much of their health care information from local TV health news. A recent case in point – seen on television stations across the country – is news about a minimally […]


Another conflicted all-expenses-paid junket offer by the National Press Foundation

Two months from now we will be in mid-winter, late January. How about four days in warm, sunny West Palm Beach, Florida? All-expenses-paid. How inviting. But how troubling.  Once again. An email was sent to journalists this week announcing this junket funded by Bayer, a multinational drug company.  Bayer markets a number of cardiovascular drugs […]


Theranos redux? Not really. But claim of a ‘simple’ test for breast cancer warrants scrutiny

Once again the lure of a “simple” test has made headlines. This time the catalyst was a news release issued by the UK’s National Cancer Research Institute. Its title: “Simple blood test for early detection of breast cancer.” In fact, no such test exists. As the body of the PR news release acknowledged, it’s an […]


Breast center marketing pitch via reporter’s live-streamed mammogram was a bad idea

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is over for another year.  But it’s not too late to reflect on, and learn from, one of the most troublesome breast center marketing ideas in recent memory. As described in stories all over the globe, including in the Washington Post, the NBC Today Show website, People magazine, Adweek, and Fox News, a […]


How one bit of medical jargon fuels public confusion about cancer treatments

Most new cancer treatments haven’t been proven to help patients live longer or feel better. Instead they delay the growth of tumors — which may be faster to measure but doesn’t necessarily indicate a tangible benefit for patients. But you wouldn’t grasp that sobering fact from some recent news coverage: A headline in the UK’s […]


We help journalists avoid reliance on sources with financial conflicts of interest

For the past 11 years, has helped journalists find industry-independent experts to use as sources in their stories.  It’s an effort begun by journalists Jeanne Lenzer and Shannon Brownlee (now a VP at the Lown Institute), but joined by me and Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD, of Georgetown not long after. You can read more about […]


Fact-checking – by itself – is inherently flawed on health care topics

Fact-checking has become one of the buzziest buzzwords in journalism. There are more than 100 fact-checking projects around the world. It’s been trotted out to counter alleged “fake” news.  And to monitor the accuracy of political leaders who stretch the boundaries of believability. April 2 has been proclaimed International Fact-Checking Day. Indeed, genuine fact-checking may play an important […]


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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