Reflections on 2020: You can’t mask this reality

It is deeply disheartening for me to reflect on how health care information was miscommunicated so often by so many different players in 2020.  In my 47-year career, I never saw a President, his Administration, some federal health agency leaders, many elected officials and so many others distort and deceive and mislead Americans so often […]


“Investigating Health & Medicine” – Global Investigative Journalism Network

Our contribution to a new global resource HealthNewsReview.org made multiple contributions to an impressive new online resource, “Investigating Health and Medicine,” by Serena Tinari and Catherine Riva via the Global Investigative Journalism Network. The preface to the guide states: This guide deals extensively with how to independently assess research claims and frequently cites the work of HealthNewsReview.org, […]


Transparency by drug companies, scrutiny by journalists, vital in vaccine news

Pfizer’s chairman and CEO proclaimed in a Pfizer company news release: “Today is a great day for science and humanity.” In that PR news release – but only in that format – Pfizer announced early results of “a vaccine efficacy rate above 90%, at 7 days after the second dose.” That’s about all we know […]


Post-election health report: a time for healing

Today’s email newsletter: A time for healing One headline has stayed with me:  ‘Science was on the ballot’ – and public health lost. In an article published the morning after the election, STAT news reported:  “Results…underscore just how many Americans agree with a president who has called the nation’s top scientists “idiots,” openly mocked mask-wearing, and […]


How COVID-19 drug/vaccine decisions might be based on little evidence

Everyday we are flooded with a tsunami of news about the race to test COVID-19 vaccines in thousands – tens of thousands – of people. When you hear about such large trials of 30,000 or more, you might be surprised by the following. Today I pause to reflect on the very low level of evidence […]


Perfect storm of politics, PR, polluted messages to the public

That was the title of a seminar presentation I made for the Georgetown University Health and the Public Interest program last week. It was delivered via Zoom for the graduate students in the program and for a broader Zoom audience beyond the University. The co-director of the program, Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD, invited me.  She also […]


It has come to this: ignore vaccines-in-animals drug industry PR & news

Earlier this week, a powerful opinion piece, “It Has Come To This:  Ignore the CDC,”  co-authored by former National Institutes of Health director Harold Varmus,  was published in the New York Times. That’s on the science side. On the PR and journalism side, it has come to this:  ignore a lot of the news you […]


Convalescent plasma: another controversial clash of politics & science

You’d need a pretty big, stiff broom to sweep away all of the hype dished out by the Trump Administration as it announced an Emergency Use Authorization for convalescent plasma – the liquid component of blood that may be tapped for disease-fighting antibodies from people who’ve been infected with COVID-19. Before the announcement was even […]


Crazy week of PR & news on studies should teach us how/what to ignore

On Tuesday, it was excitement over vaccine news in 12 monkeys. (Journalism example.) On Wednesday, it was excitement over vaccine news in cells from mice.  (National Institutes of Health PR example.) We’re going down the food chain.  Today is Thursday.  By Friday, we may be getting excited for nematodes that are vaccinated. Let me emphasize: […]


Drug company influence on journalism

Many times through the years, HealthNewsReview.org has criticized the National Press Foundation in Washington, DC, for accepting drug company funding for journalism training.  (See articles from June 2009, July 2009, August 2010, September 2010, October 2010, March 2014, March 2015, December 2015, November 2019. I may have missed a few, but you get the picture.) They’re doing it […]


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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