This is an interesting and informative piece about the utility and the marketing of gastric banding, a type of weight loss surgery. It covered the marketing of this medical device in great detail. Consumers reading this piece would have a much better sense of the recent history of gastric banding and the strong direct-to-consumer marketing push that is happening now. Providing this information enables readers to recognize the market forces at work. And while the story was really less about helping people make a decision about whether this was an appropriate procedure for them to undergo, it would certainly arm a consumer with questions to pursue if they were considering this operation.
Overall, a very well done story.
The story provided several estimates for the cost of gastric banding; it also discussed insurance coverage, i.e. that the procedure was not always covered by insurance.
While the story mentioned weight loss, health improvement, and longer life, it failed to provide quantitative estimates for these.
The story provided quantitative information on the disease reduction obtained with the use of this device in individuals with type II diabetes. Although the story did mention that weight loss is slower with gastric banding than with gastric bypass, it failed to provide quantitative information about the amount or rate of weight loss attained with banding. The story should also have mentioned that long-term followup finds for those whose diabetes resolves following gastric banding, about half re-develop diabetes at 10 years.
The story mentioned weight regain as well as some of the side effects that occur with the use of this device. For a more complete discussion, it should have included information about how frequently these occur.
When discussing the effect of gastric banding on type II diabetes, the story mentioned the research about the use of this device for this population. It mentioned the evidence about safety and effectiveness and where it had been published. As for the impact of the banding procedure on weight, the story neglected to include information on the average weight loss seen but did include several patient anecdotes. However the story was more focused on the marketing strategies for this device rather than the health claims per se.
The story did not engage in disease mongering.
The story included primary quotes from clinicians, industry spokespersons, and individuals who had undergone gastric banding.
The story included a pretty comprehensive comparison between gastric banding and gastric bypass, another type of weight loss surgery. It only mentioned diet and exercise in passing and failed to mention medication that can be used for weight loss.
The story provided a very complete discussion about the various venues at which gastric banding was available.
The story provided a pretty complete history of the use of gastric banding.
Does not rely on a press release