Cure for the Common Cold

Clinical trials showed that ViroPharma's anti-cold drug, pleconaril, was little better than a placebo in clinical trials, but that didn't stop hundreds of newspapers from hyping it as a miracle cure. "It fell far short of what any rational person would call a cure," observes Gary Schwitzer. "Yet hundreds of journalists called pleconaril just that - and more - in hundreds of news stories before the drug was ever submitted to the FDA for approval. ... Journalists used an array of superlative terms for the drug -cure, miracle, wonder drug, super drug, a medical first. It was described as 'good news for physicians and their patients,' 'potentially huge,' and as a treatment that 'may drastically help relieve your misery.' It was compared with the search for the Holy Grail and with man's landing on the moon."