Blog | Monday, November 24, 2008

Nothing to disclose

Since we spend a lot of time covering the ways that physicians are potentially influenced by pharma companies, it seems only fair to tell you about a new article that says health care journalists might have the same problem.

Writing in BMJ, experts from the Center for Medicine and the Media describe how lavish prizes (e.g., 7500 euros + a international trip for writing about obesity), pharma funding for education (a sponsored professorship in a medical journalism school), and assistance from PR reps in finding sources (ever wonder where they get those patient anecdotes?) can compromise journalistic ethics.

The response from ACP Internist staff: What? Why didn't anyone tell us about all this free stuff?

Rest assured, dear readers, that we would be sure to let you know if we ever won any fabulous prizes, we have no specialized training, and we spend lots of time hunting down our own sources. But, just in case any of you were thinking of buying me a trip to Europe, I promise that such a gift would not cause me to be less critical of you. (My parents can vouch for that.)