Note to our followers: Our nearly 13-year run of daily publication of new content on came to a close at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. But all of the 6,000+ articles we have published contain lessons to help you improve your critical thinking about health care interventions. And those will be still be alive on the site for a couple of years.

SNL tops Sally Fields’ Boniva ads with Preniva parody

The flying nun got grounded by this hilarious drug ad parody on Saturday Night Live. Another SNL smackdown of drug ad disease-mongering. Fave lines: • “All women are inherently weak and very fragile.” • “There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with you to take Preniva. You just have to be scared – which you […]


How big medical conferences try to make and control the news

Over the next few days, news readers/viewers/listeners will be bombarded with news from the big American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago. But how does some of this stuff become news? Read an excellent post by an excellent reporter, Ron Winslow of the Wall Street Journal, to see some of the crazy, ugly sausage-making […]

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When's the last time your MD gave you a generic drug sample?

Don’t hold your breath. It’s not going to happen. Meantime, in one more way brand name drug makers promote their brand to doctors and patients – they are giving out $3 billion a year of their samples! Katie Hobson on the Wall Street Journal HealthBlog writes: To (roughly) put that in the larger context of […]


NYT Dartmouth Atlas criticism falls flat with many bloggers

Some very smart bloggers raised many questions of their own about yesterday’s New York Times critique of the Dartmouth Atlas methodology. • “This journalism, like the Dartmouth research on which it draws, isn’t perfect” – Jonathan Cohn on The New Republic blog. • “a confused, woffly attack on Dartmouth from Reed Abelson & Gardiner Harris. […]


Investigation into drug industry influence on WHO flu pandemic decisions

An investigation by the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism concludes that key scientists advising the World Health Organization on how to prepare for a flu pandemic had done paid work for drug companies that could benefit from these recommendations. The report is summarized in the BMJ but a subscription is required. In an […]


The solution to rising health care costs is patients making informed decisions

Yale’s Harlan Krumholz blogs on the Forbes site today, making a strong case for shared decision-making even though he doesn’t use that term in his post. Excerpt: “A few weeks ago I made a modest proposal to the medical profession in the pages of the Journal of the American Medical Association. I suggested that we […]


Jack Black’s "boob-saver" public service announcement

This video has been available for months, but I just saw it for the first time. I suspect many women would get a chuckle from seeing the always buffed, ripped and jacked comedian Jack Black partially disrobe to put his breast in a mammography machine – or – as he calls it, “the boob-saver 5K.”


Scrutinizing the Dartmouth Atlas methodology

The worst-kept secret in journalism circles recently was that the New York Times was planning an article critical of the Dartmouth Atlas. That article was published online last night. Among the main points in the article: • “The mistaken belief that the Dartmouth research proves that cheaper care is better care is widespread.” • “the […]


Important Newsweek column: Desperately Seeking Cures

Catching up to this column from May 15 by Mary Carmichael and Sharon Begley. The subhead: “How the road from promising scientific breakthrough to real-world remedy has become all but a dead end.” The lede: “From 1996 to 1999, the U.S. food and Drug Administration approved 157 new drugs. In the comparable period a decade […]


Check out Croakey – the Crikey health blog from Australia

Melissa Sweet and the Australian Croakey blog (a forum for debate and discussion about health issues and policy), posts a dozen suggestions for improving health reporting “from recent initiatives and articles, in the first part of a mega-wrap covering media and health-related issues.” Happy to see that she included a couple of links to things […]


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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