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New pill might be reliable wake-up call


0 Star

New pill might be reliable wake-up call

Our Review Summary

This is not a good piece of health journalism. It is not balanced. It fails to discuss any evidence. The report demonstrates little curiosity and no rigor. 

With the exception of the brief (and rather understated) quote from a sleep specialist, the story reads like it should say "advertising" at the top of the page.

The Daily News editors should be embarrassed for allowing this story into print. 


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story states a price of $29.95 for 40 pills, but fails to indicate what the recommended dosage is. The author took two in the evening but the other user quoted took additional pills during the day. What are the true costs per person per week of this "magical new pill"?

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

Not Satisfactory

The reporter makes no attempt to quantify the benefits. What is the evidence?  How many are helped?  How many are not helped?

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

Not Satisfactory

The article fails to mention any potential harms.

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

Not Satisfactory

The evidence of benefit consists of the author’s experience, one other user’s experience, and the maker’s claims. Have there been clinical trials?  What have they shown?  What is the quality of the evidence?

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

The story exaggerates the author’s waking difficulties in a way that makes this "condition" seem more widespread and harmful than it is.

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

Not Satisfactory

Sources used are the product’s maker, the reporter’s observations and quotes from a satisfied user. One physician is quoted briefly at the end questioning the ingredients’ capacity to improve sleep.  There is improper balance in the story with the weight of terms like "magical…ingenious…unique…even more dramatic results" overwhelming the short comment from one physician.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

There are many options for treating sleep difficulties or morning fatigue. None is mentioned here.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story predicts the product will be available at "all major retail outlets" by August. There is no evidence to support this prediction.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The article claims the coating used to delay release of the ingredients inside is unique. Time-release coatings have been used in pills for decades.

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

Not Applicable

The story echoes both the press release and the maker’s web site in its description of the episode that led the pill’s creator to develop the product, the contents of the pill, and the claims about the pill’s "unique" coating. However, because our criterion demands that we find the exact same language in the story as we found in a news release, we can’t be sure that the story relied solely or largely on a news release. Maybe this an example of where our criteria are too lax. 

Total Score: 0 of 9 Satisfactory


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