Just doesn’t stack up to the other two stories (by WebMD and the New York Times) we reviewed on this same study. But it’s tough to stack up when all you’ve done is rewritten a news release.
When you report from a news release, you’re not going to get into the meat of the real story as the New York Times did on the questions about corporate sponsorship of a clinical trial.
Cost isn’t mentioned and in that oversight is perhaps the biggest flaw of the story – that it did not explain – as the New York Times story did – that there are questions about Lucentis vs. a cheaper alternative. From the NYT:
Organizers of the trial conceded that a major reason Lucentis was chosen was that Genentech, which is now owned by Roche, agreed to provide the drug free of charge and to contribute $9 million in additional financing — but only if Lucentis were used.
“Obviously you can’t underplay $9 million,” said Dr. Ferris of the eye institute, which is part of the part of the National Institutes of Health. But he said there were other factors as well, like a belief that Lucentis might have been the better drug.Dr. Philip J. Rosenfeld, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Miami, said the decision was “clearly a case of pay to play” since Genentech’s money dictated the choice of drugs.
Never defines what "substantial improvement in vision" means.
None discussed. The NYT reported: "About 1 percent of those getting Lucentis injections suffered an inflammation of the eye from an infection."
No discussion of the quality of the evidence. And the headline and subhead mention only the drug. This is still being looked at as a drug-and-laser combination.
No disease mongering.
Quotes come directly from an American Academy of Opthalmology news release. No discussion of whether either of the quoted experts has financial ties to the company making the drug – but one of them reported in the study that he had ties to the manufacturer.
No comparison with the cheaper alternative – part of the important controversy raised in the NYT story.
The story never clarifies whether Lucentis is now approved and available.
The story calls it "a new drug." It’s not. It’s already approved for another eye disease, age-related macular degeneration.
Relies totally on a news release. No sign of independent reporting.