Tipsheet For Health Care Journalists Identifies Crucial Questions

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A new tipsheet to aid medical and health care reporters in covering clinical research is being launched today at the annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists in Atlanta. The tipsheet is in the form of seven simple questions for reporters to consider, and it follows from a groundbreaking study of media coverage of medications, published in the June 1, 2000 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. That study, which was based out of Harvard Medical School, found many news stories overplayed the benefits of drugs, downplayed harms, and failed to reveal the industry ties of cited experts. Like the NEJM study, the tipsheet was put together by Australian journalist Ray Moynihan, in collaboration with academics and journalists from around the world-including Stephen Soumerai of Harvard Medical School, Lisa Bero of the University of California, San Francisco, and others. The project was funded by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund. Seven Questions to Consider "The tipsheet really just reinforces the need for skepticism and caution when dealing with the enthusiasm of academic or commercial interests promoting new drugs, devices, or medical technologies," said Moynihan, who is currently covering the business of medicine for the Australian Financial Review. The NEJM study was conducted while Moynihan was a Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy at The Commonwealth Fund, which also supported the tipsheet development and provided support to the AHCJ conference. The full text of the tipsheet is available at www.commonwealthfund.org.

Publication Details

Publication Date:
March 22, 2001

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