Read Original Story

Industry Giants Push Obesity Surgery


5 Star

Industry Giants Push Obesity Surgery

Our Review Summary

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. 




Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


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.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

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.  


Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


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.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?


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.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


The story did not engage in disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?


The story included primary quotes from clinicians, industry spokespersons, and individuals who had undergone gastric banding.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


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. 

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story provided a very complete discussion about the various venues at which gastric banding was available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story provided a pretty complete history of the use of gastric banding.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


Does not rely on a press release

Total Score: 9 of 10 Satisfactory


Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.