Health care news releases may not tell the whole story: Merck edition

Derek Lowe, a biomedical researcher at Novartis, is talking “A bit about biopharma investing” today on his blog. It’s all about the problems inherent in making decisions based on drug company news releases. His comments are targeted at investors, who in turn are the main targets of these drug company announcements. But his logic could […]

2 10/12/2017

Because patient advocacy groups aren’t always what they seem: A quick guide to nonprofit sleuthing

Journalists shouldn’t take organizations they report on at face value. Rather, they should ask who calls the shots and who provides the funding. And they should report findings that call into question a group’s credibility. But as HealthNewsReview.org has repeatedly found, that essential legwork often doesn’t occur when it comes to patient advocacy groups. Most […]

1 10/11/2017

More evidence that women should be wary of ‘ovarian reserve testing’ events

A number of major news outlets reported on a new study in JAMA that determined ovarian reserve tests aren’t a good predictor of fertility among women trying to conceive naturally who have no history of infertility. Common biomarker tests to assess ovarian reserve–including antimüllerian hormone (AMH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)–are often given to women to assess their reproductive […]


Podcast: Allen Frances, MD – A psychiatrist’s take on the DSM, Pharma, and Donald Trump

Is President Donald Trump mentally ill? Do we really need over 500 psychiatric diagnoses? What do the changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or ‘DSM’ for short) over the past 60+ years say about psychiatry? The influence of industry? Us? This conversation with renowned psychiatrist, Allen Frances MD — although just […]


‘Ethical bordellos:’ Op-eds don’t always disclose Big Pharma conflicts of interest

Drug companies have been promoting their views on the nation’s op-ed pages via commentary writers who come across as neutral-sounding experts, and editors don’t always call out these industry mouthpieces for what they are. Pharma-friendly guest columns have appeared on editorial pages around the country without disclosure of the authors’ drug industry ties, including the […]


5-Star Friday: Reports of the death of investigative journalism have been greatly exaggerated

Who says investigative journalism is dead? (And, yes, I know the subtitle above is a misquote. It’s been investigated.) This brings up something that comes up again and again in my mind: both medicine and journalism are being hurt by being too rushed. Our collective health would improve tremendously, in my opinion, if our health […]


Some news stories sugarcoat limitations of study linking skipping breakfast to heart disease

A raft of news stories this week covered yet another study that links skipping breakfast to health woes. The study was observational and offered up this association: People who ate less than 5 percent of their total daily calories at breakfast, based on their answers on a questionnaire about their eating habits, were more likely to show […]

3 10/3/2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How do we end up pink-washed every October?

The White House and Empire State Building are being lit pink this week. Model Elizabeth Hurley recently passed out pink ribbons on a transatlantic flight. Firefighters, football players, and even people’s dogs are donning the pink … … all in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month which kicked off this past weekend. It’s been going […]

2 10/2/2017

Non-profit Alliance for Patient Access uses journalists and politicians to push Big Pharma’s agenda

In an era of widespread calls for action to tame skyrocketing prescription drug costs, one organization consistently opposes measures to rein them in: the Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA). The AfPA claims it’s trying to ensure patients have access to FDA-approved therapies. However, its track record shows it pushes platforms that help drug companies’ bottom […]


Caffeine and Parkinson’s: One researcher, two studies, and opposite results. What happens?

In August of 2012, Ronald Postuma, MD, a neurologist from McGill University, performed a study along with several coauthors which suggested that caffeine improves debilitating movement symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease. News coverage was brisk and included major outlets like Reuters, CBS News, Huffington Post, and Fox News (running the Reuters story). Yesterday, Dr. Postuma published […]


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