Hustling Estrogen With Fake News

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's MediaWatch program has revealed that Estradot, an estrogen patch for women made by drug industry giant Novartis, has been promoted in Australia by a fake news package including a press release, a video news release (VNR) and an audio news release (ANR). The VNR was used without attribution by Channel 7 News. MediaWatch presenter, Liz Jackson, reported that "on radio it was everywhere, over and over again, using only the medical experts the PR company provided." Potential side effects, Jackson reported, were "almost completely ignored by the media, except when one of the company's experts raised it herself to dismiss lingering concerns." MediaWatch did not disclose which PR firm produced and/or distributed the fake news package.