Health

Journalism for Hire?

The National Association of Science Writers (NASW) is debating the ethics of a job advertisement sent to its members from Chicco Chandler, a PR firm that "works exclusively with the pharmaceutical/biotech industry" and boasts of past involvement in PR for Viagra, Celebrex and Zoloft, with clients including Agouron, Amgen, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Pfizer.

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Wisconsin County Hires PR For Help With E. Coli Outbreak

As the number of people sick from E. coli strain O157:H7 in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, climbed past 150 last Friday, public officials hired the PR firm Zigman Joseph Stephenson to help with media and an anticipated crush of lawsuits. The outbreak is being blamed on children not washing their hands after visiting the petting zoo at the Ozaukee County Fair. The Ozaukee County Board's Administrative Committee approved hiring the PR firm for up to $12,000 in expenses.

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Jackie Joyner-Kersee Plugs GlaxoSmithKline

The New York Times ran an op-ed piece written by six-time Olympic track and field medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee about her struggle with asthma. The paper failed to note that Joyner-Kersee is part of an "asthma education program" program supported by GlaxoSmithKline, which makes an inhalation aerosol for asthma.

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3M & Scotchgard -- The Truth Emerges

Remember the PR hype and spin about how socially responsible and proactive 3M corporation was in pulling Scotchgard from the market last year? Well, check this out: "New analyses of 3M's own data, some decades old, reveals that the company knew far more, far earlier, about potential health problems from Scotchgard exposure. The (Scotchgard) story is likely to emerge as one of the apocryphal examples of 20th century experimentation with widespread chemical exposures without adequate testing."

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Delicate PR Operation Supports Transplant

After Children's Memorial Hospital, a private hospital in Chicago, refused to treat 11-year-old Ana Esparza because she was uninsured and could not afford a life-saving liver transplant, Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital agreed to do the surgery for only $225,000 -- discounted from the normal $500,000 cost of the procedure.

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A Stand for Scientific Independence

Editors at the world's most prominent medical journals, alarmed that drug companies are exercising too much control over research results, have agreed to adopt a uniform policy that reserves the right to refuse to publish drug company-sponsored studies unless the researchers involved are guaranteed scientific independence. The journal editors decided to act after several recent cases involving charges that drug companies tried to withhold research results or present them in the most favorable way.

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Hospital Saves Fictional Character!

"It was 2:05 a.m. when an ambulance brought Mr. Jacobs and his daughter to Sarasota Memorial Hospital's emergency room," stated a news release from Sarasota Memorial Hospital. "Mr. Jacobs was complaining of difficulty breathing. He was 65 years old, overweight and on medication for high blood pressure.

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PR Firm's Paxil Campaign Draws Criticism

The Washingon Post reported NY-based PR firm Cohn & Wolfe's campaign for Glaxo SmithKline to promote its drug Paxil as a treatment for social anxiety disorder has raised concerns. The campaign calls into question whether pharmaceutical companies, traditionally in the business of finding new drugs for existing disorders, are increasingly in the business of seeking new disorders for existing drugs.

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Minnesota Attorney General Investigates Allina Health System's PR Spending

Minnesota's largest health care system Allina Health System has been under the close scrutiny of the Minnesota attorney general. At issue is whether Allina improperly spent money on outside consultants and executive perks. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Allina spent over $300,000 this spring on "crisis management" consultants.

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Poll Shows Americans More Willing To Participate In Clinical Trials

A Harris Interactive/BBK Healthcare Poll showed that more Americans are considering clinical research studies as treatment options and they want more education about the federal and international measures designed to protect them. According to a press release on "The Will & Why Survey," 83 percent of the 5000 respondents to the nationwide online survey said they would consider a clinical research study, but only 13 percent said they have had the opportunity to take part in one.

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