Ben Goldacre, a London-based doctor and writer, was a little "surprised" by a recent offer posted in an email on a science writers' mailing list. "It was from the Aspirin Foundation, a group funded by the drug industry, and it was offering -- on behalf of Bayer HealthCare -- to pay expenses for journalists to attend the European Society of Cardiology's conference in Vienna." Goldacre contacted some of his peers and discovered that it is "extremely common for journalists to take money from drug companies." Some reporters dismissed the suggestion that such perks could affect how they reported an event. Drug companies, Goldacre noted, "wouldn't pay for journalists to attend their events if they didn't think it would affect media coverage of their product. After all, a journalist's article is far more credible than a paid advertisement, for anybody's money, and more likely to be read by potential consumers."
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