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Medicine, the media and monetary interests: the need for transparency and professionalism.

Moynihan R, et al. Med J Aust. 2000 Dec 4-18.


Emerging evidence suggests that media coverage of medicine is increasingly promotional in nature. Recent Australian examples include misleading newspaper articles on an experimental cancer vaccine and a high profile television current affairs segment on a new influenza drug, which failed to disclose the industry ties of a key expert featured in the report. There are widening concerns that this problem in medical journalism may be exacerbated by the growing commercialisation of medical and scientific research, and the increasing ties between researchers, doctors and pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies. Closer links between industry and medicine are being explicitly encouraged both in academia and the health care sector for the mutual benefits they bring. However, these partnerships are the cause of growing unease within medicine. In the United States, rigorous legislation governing research protocols is being proposed, and in Australia new ethical guidelines covering industry-profession relationships are being promulgated. If one of the media's roles is informing the community about the business of health and medicine in a fair and accurate way, a cultural change in medical journalism is required.


11379512 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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