Do Not Ask for Whom the Poll Trolls

This spring, a poll that found half of adult Americans have frequent sleeping problems was reported on "by virtually all of the country's major newspapers and television networks," as well as international media. "Lost in the somber warnings and survey results, however, was that the poll, the proclamations and the press kits that spread the information were paid for by sleeping pill manufacturers," reports the Sacramento Bee. Although the group that released the poll, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), receives more than half of its income from drug companies, only 17 of 84 newspaper stories "mentioned the foundation's pharmaceutical sponsors." And while the New York public relations firm Zeno Group was touting the NSF poll, it was also hyping the launch of a new sleeping pill, Lunesta. Zeno Group included "a pitch for coverage of the release of the Lunesta sleeping pill" in the NSF press packets announcing the poll results.