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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2002 Jun 30;122(17):1671-6.

["New wonder pill!"--what do Norwegian newspapers write].

[Article in Norwegian]

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  • 1Det medisinske fakultet Universitetet i Oslo 0316 Oslo.



The news media are an important source of information on new medical treatments. There is, however growing concern that some of the coverage may be inaccurate and overly enthusiastic, thereby misleading the general population.


Eight major Norwegian newspapers were screened for articles on the benefits and risks of all the 60 new medications introduced on the Norwegian market from July 1998 through March 2000. We found a total of 492 articles describing 18 new medications over the period January 1998 through June 2000.


Of the 357 stories that mentioned benefits, 79% did not report this in any greater detail, 51% gave the medication a positive coverage, while 19% used overly enthusiastic terms like "wonder pill". 39% of the 492 stories pointed to potentially harmful effects of the medication while 27% mentioned costs. 174 stories cited at least one expert describing the effects of the medication, but only four of these stories disclosed financial ties between the expert and the manufacturer of the specific drug. Press releases from drug companies were cited twice as often as papers in medical journals.


The Norwegian news media usually given new medications an overly enthusiastic coverage, while there is incomplete information about the benefits, risks and costs of the drugs as well as about the financial ties between medical experts and the pharmaceutical industry.

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