NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - https://archive.org/web/.
Read Original Story

Macular degeneration fought with new drug

Rating

0 Star

Macular degeneration fought with new drug

Our Review Summary

The story describes one woman’s experience with a research study testing a new drug for a form of age-related macular degeneration. However, there is virtually no information about the new drug, including what class of drug, what type of study or studies have been conducted (the strength of the evidence), what the benefits are, or what the harms are. Readers have no context to determine whether this drug actually offers anything new in the treatment of macular degeneration and certainly have no idea how much better one might expect to get compared to conventional treatments. The story is anecdotal, which can be biasing, and also only obtains input from one doctor who happens to be involved with the research. This physician’s comment that this drug has a “wow” factor sounds like a marketing tactic and is allowed to stand without any evidence provided that this drug even works.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention costs of treatment (either the new drug or the existing laser treatment). Lucentis is the same as Avastin, which is used to treat end stage colon cancer.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story provides no quantification of benefits whatsoever.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story doesn’t mention any harms of treatment. Importantly, this medication is injected directly into the eye and is not pleasant.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not provide any evidence whatsoever. It’s not clear if the new drug was studied through randomized trials or some other type of trial design. Readers have no context for the type or strength of the evidence.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

The story briefly discusses age-related macular degeneration, including “dry” and “wet” versions. The reality is that while many people over age 75 have signs of macular degeneration, only about 200,000 actually have a vision defect. While this condition is an important one, the story seems to overestimate the issue.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story describes the anecdotal experience of one woman and quotes her doctor, who is involved in the research. The doctor also describes the results in a very subjective manner, even describing a “wow” factor to the new drug without also providing any evidence that it works. The story does not obtain independent information from any other experts.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The story does describe the conventional treatment for macular degeneration, which is laser treatment. The surrounding context around this treatment is minimal, however. Readers don’t know how much better their vision might get with the new drug treatment compared to laser treatment.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story mentions a new drug which might help improve vision problems related to “wet” macular degeneration, but the new drug is mentioned as part of an anecdotal story of one woman who investigated research studies and asked her doctor which one might be best for her. It’s not clear what the availability of this drug is currently or when it might be expected to gain FDA approval (it is currently FDA approved for the “wet” form). The story also fails to mention that another drug is commercially avaialable for the same disorder.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The story doesn’t provide any information about the class of drug, although it implies this drug and its results are new in the treatment arena of macular degeneration. The story does mention laser treatment as a conventional form of treatment, implying this drug treatment is new in comparison to other treatment options. The story also doesn’t mention other, existing drugs used to treat the same condition. There is virtually no information about what this new drug is, how it works, or even what it does.

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

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure if the story relied solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 0 of 9 Satisfactory

Comments

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