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Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Aug;137(8):746-50. doi: 10.1001/archoto.2011.75. Epub 2011 May 16.

Claim validity of print advertisements found in otolaryngology journals.

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Departments of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.



To evaluate the accuracy and scientific evidence supporting product claims made in print advertisements within otolaryngology journals.


Cross-sectional survey with literature review and multiple-reviewer evaluation. Fifty claims made within 23 unique advertisements found in prominent otolaryngology journals were selected. References to support the claims were provided within the advertisements or obtained through direct request to the manufacturer. Five academic otolaryngologists with distinct training and geographic practice locations reviewed the claims and supporting evidence. Each physician had substantial experience as an editorial reviewer, and several had specific training in research methodology and scientific methods.


Of the 50 claims, only 14 were determined to be based on strong evidence (28%). With regard to the supporting references, 32 references were published sources (76%), while 3 references were package inserts and/or prescribing information (7%). Interobserver agreement among the reviewers overall was poor; however, when 3 or more of the reviewers were in agreement, only 10% of the claims were deemed correct (n = 5). Reviewers also noted that only 6% of the claims were considered well supported (n = 3).


Advertisers make claims that appear in respectable journals, but greater than half of the claims reviewed were not supported by the provided reference materials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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