There was a lot we liked about this story. Appropriate caveats. Even the headline said "may help" instead of hyping results. Lots of detail on the evidence. Maybe WebMD is starting to listen to us?
The story ended with this note which we had not seen before on a WebMD story:
We applaud this addition.
The story explains that "No price has been set." We give it credit for thinking about cost and addressing it – even if the answer is uncertain at this point. 70 percent of the stories we review fail to adequately address costs.
The "ejaculatory control scale" wasn’t explained very well. But the numbers were there.
Again, this was the most complete story of the three reviewed in discussing side effects:
"A total of 6.1% of the men and 6.7% of their partners suffered at least one side effect. In men, the most frequent side effect was loss of erection; it occurred at least once in 3.1% of men. In the partners, the most frequent side effect was burning in the vulvovaginal area; 5% of women reported it at least once."
The story gave a great deal of detail about how the study was done – most of the three stories we reviewed.
It also included this italicized note at the end:
We had not seen that before on a WebMD story and we applaud it. WebMD, are you listening to us?
The story includes the important caveat – "Not all men with premature ejaculation suffer to the same degree as the men in the study" – although did they really need to use the term "suffer"???
It did not question the oft-cited statistic that "Up to 30% of men suffer some degree of premature ejaculation" as the Wall Street Journal did, but we’ll give it a satisfactory grade on this nonetheless because of the caveat above.
One researcher’s financial links to the drug company were disclosed. One independent expert was interviewed.
The story didn’t provide the context on other research in this area that the Wall Street Journal story provided:
The story explains that "The drug is so new that the company has yet to give it a name under which it will be marketed…. the company is preparing to apply for FDA approval based on the results of the new research."
It’s clear from the story that the drug "contains two common painkillers" and that "this is the first time a drug is being rigorously tested for men with really serious premature ejaculation problems."
It’s clear that the story did not rely solely on a news release.