CBS put a crawl under this story reading "Stem cells to build better bones." And then failed to mention stem cells even one time in the story.
That’s one indication of how off-base this segment was.
Instead of data, the segment gushed calling it "godsend…really exciting…very important…could be lifesaving."
A huge oversight. One other news account reported that the drug costs $800 a month. How could this NOT be part of the story?
None. And segments tend to give the impression that the benefits are universal for anyone taking the drug. Instead of data, the segment gushed calling it "godsend…really exciting…very important…could be lifesaving."
No discussion of harms. Not even a mention that the drug needs to be given by injection.
None. Nada. Zip. Just a before-and-after image of one case.
The medical correspondent notes that the risk of death can be as high as 1 in 4 within a year post major bone fracture. There is no evidence that the use of Forteo reduces this risk and the definition of a major bone fracture was not provided. The implication is that there are a lot of major bone fractures in the elderly due to falls, and the use of Forteo could reduce the unsubstantiated risk of death of 1 in 4.
Since only a physician-correspondent appeared on the set, citing no evidence and no sources, we don’t know the source of the information.
No other treatment options for bone healing were discussed.
Story explains the drug Forteo was approved by the FDA for use in osteoporosis in 2002 but gives no idea how widely it’s used for bone healing. The story is based on a preliminary report involving 145 patients with poorly healing bone fractures. Based on the results of this small study, a larger and presumably more confirmatory study is in the planning stages. But you wouldn’t know that from the story.
There is no mention of the fact that the drug is being used "off label," an important consideration. The use of Forteo (actually a synthetic version of parathyroid hormone) in fracture healing has been studied for a number of years. Most of the work has been in animals.
We can’t be sure if the segment relied solely or largely on a news release.