4/7/2009

This news coverage doesn't help women with breast cancer

A drug company applies to expand its approval for a drug (Tykerb) for advanced breast cancer in the US and Europe. And the only source AP quotes in the story is an employee of the drugmaker. That is not sound journalism. The story is one of the resounding majority (72%) of health news stories I’ve […]

4/3/2009

Bernadine Healy and the President's prostate

Should Obama Get a PSA Test? On Prostate Cancer Screening and Comparative Effectiveness. That’s the headline of Dr. Bernadine Healy’s blog entry on the US News & World Report website. I felt obliged to respond online with a comment in reaction. I wrote: Dr. Healy writes: “Prostate cancer mortality rates have plummeted in the United […]

4/3/2009

News about Gooz is our loss

Merrill Goozner, who headed the Integrity in Science Watch project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest for the past five years, has been axed by CSPI. The good news is that he’ll now have more time to devote to his terrific blog, GoozNews.com, for which, in the past, he had to cobble […]

4/2/2009

To Screen Or Not To Screen – That Is The Question

My Canadian friend and colleague Alan Cassels (along with two other colleagues) has published a new analysis warning “that private clinics selling high-tech services to screen healthy people for disease could be harming Canadians and placing an undue burden on the public health system. …The results of the study found that there are prevalent misconceptions […]

4/1/2009

Wanna sell a book? Get bigtime newspaper coverage.

A radical approach, lacking in evidence on harms and benefits, gets bigtime coverage from a bigtime newspaper – the LA Times. But, after all, it’s based on the promoter’s new book, so it must be legit. See the story review on HealthNewsReview.org. As if the TV networks’ morning “news” programs don’t give enough free pub […]

3/31/2009

Is the UK having better debate about mammography benefits and harms than US?

We need more stories like the one in today’s New York Times that addresses legitimate questions about mammography now being raised in the UK. It started with an article in the BMJ about the inadequacy of British informational brochures on mammography. Then a letter to The Times of London entitled, “Breast cancer screening peril: Negative […]

2 3/31/2009

Must see TV – Frontline’s "Sick Around America"

Jon Palfreman, who has produced some of the smartest health care and science documentaries anyone has ever produced, rolls out his newest tonight. PBS Frontline. “Sick Around America.” It follows his earlier “Sick Around The World” film. And it will show once again how you can cover vital health policy issues on TV if you […]

3/31/2009

NBC goes nuts over Polypill

NBC said it “could be the magic bullet for preventing heart disease and strokes.” They threw up a “BREAKING NEWS” banner even though they acknowledged that each of the five pills in the “polypill” has been “around for a long time.” [2017 Update: The video is no longer available but the transcript can be found […]

3/30/2009

Required reading on industry-funded CME

A devastating indictment. That’s what Dr. Daniel Carlat – on his blog – called yesterday’s piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Drug firms’ cash skews doctor classes: Company-funded UW courses often favor medicine, leave out side effects.” I’m late in weighing in on this, so I’ll just refer you to Carlat’s analysis. But I will […]

3/30/2009

Please, PLEASE use absolute risk data

Based on my reading of a New York Times story in my local Star Tribune today, I was ready to blast the Times. I was reading the story out of the American College of Cardiology meeting on the new data suggesting that statins can reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism. By how much can statins […]

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