Note to our followers: Our nearly 13-year run of daily publication of new content on HealthNewsReview.org 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.
7/20/2006

Medical Arms Race

Jeremy Olson in today’s St. Paul Pioneer Press reports on concerns about the “medical arms race” — “relentless drive to buy the newest technology to stay competitive and offer the industry standard in care.” But, as he reports, that comes with high costs and questions about benefit. You’ve seen the marketing for CT scans, da […]

7/17/2006

Paper doesn't disclose who's paying Flying Nun to fly

“Celebrity sickness” campaigns will always be less than truthful if they fail to disclose who’s paying the bills for the campaign. When journalists join in by giving free advertisiing – disguised as news – to drug-company sponsored celebrity campaigns without disclosing the drug company funding, it is a travesty. I have written about how CNN […]

7/14/2006

Consumer-driven Health Care Marketing Disguised As News

The Star Tribune bought a UnitedHealth Group news release hook, line and sinker this week. United announced the findings of a three-year study of “consumer-driven health care plans.” It reported “that the cost to employers per member in a high-deductible plan declined 3 to 5 percent, while increasing 8 to 10 percent for others.” The […]

7/6/2006

How drug companies squelch negative findings

Scott Hensley of the Wall Street Journal published an interesting piece last week headlined, “Quest for youth: how research on anti-aging pill lost momentum.” In it, he writes; “Four years after Pfizer Inc. ended a clinical test of an experimental anti-aging pill and stopped its development for that use, the results of the study still […]

6/29/2006

Important questions about medical errors study

Don Berwick and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement have done important work in addressing health care quality issues. But they may have overstepped the boundaries of evidence with a recent study that drew a lot of news coverage, claiming that hospitals they worked with saved over 122,000 lives by cutting down on errors and improving […]

6/22/2006

Gannett stuffs newspapers with "HealthSmart" ad section

The Gannett Company has sold a 32-page issue of an insert entitled “USA Weekend HealthSmart” to drug company advertisers and to newspapers across the country. The New York Times reports that the insert appeared in 76 newspapers with an estimated circulation of 7.5 million. I was one. I am no smarter for having scanned the […]

6/21/2006

CNN's questionable screening test advice

At least CNN doesn’t discriminate based on gender when it gives screening test advice that clashes with evidence-based guidelines. Back in February, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta gave screening test recommendations to men at various ages. The advice flew in the face of unbiased, authoritative guidelines of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Then on Mother’s […]

6/20/2006

More caution about news from scientific meetings

Dartmouth’s Steve Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz have studied the pitfalls of news coverage based on scientific meetings. Their new work, in the Medical Journal of Australia, looked at print and broadcast news stories based on research reports at five major scientific meetings on heart disease, AIDS, cancer, neuroscience and radiology. Results: “34% of the 187 […]

6/19/2006

TIME magazine fails to disclose glaring conflict of interest

What ethical standards still exist at Time magazine? Or do they exist and they’re just being ignored? The Center for Science in the Public Interest points out that this week’s Time magazine includes a column by Dr. Andrew Weil touting the benefits of fish oil supplements. CSPI says, “The column was sparked by a recent […]

6/18/2006

CNN Screening Advice for Women

CNN has been giving viewers screening test advice that does not reflect the best medical evidence. In my last Publisher’s Note I pointed out how CNN’s on-air advice conflicted with evidence-based guidelines when it advised men in their 40s, 50s and 60s about screening tests they should have. That segment was broadcast in February. In […]

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