CNN To Require Celebrities To Disclose Drug Company Ties

"After learning that some celebrities who talked on its news programs about their health problems were being paid by drug companies, CNN has issued a new policy and will tell viewers about the stars' financial ties to corporations," New York Times' Melody Petersen writes. In an August 11 Times article, Petersen revealed the widespread testimonial practice. Petersen reports stars like Lauren Bacall and Kathleen Turner "had been paid to help promote drugs or other medical products" on network morning "news" programs.


Have A Coke And A Pedometer

In an effort to "bring additional value to our educational partners," Coca-Cola is launching its "Step With It!" campaign. Coke will promote walking to middle school students in 10 cities. According to PR Week, the campaign will encourage students to walk 10,000 steps a day, giving students pedometers to keep track of their walking. Coke will also promote the campaign to local media.


The Secret Sell of Drug Sponsorship

"Security guards, secret guest lists and silent sponsors were not what some participants were expecting when they turned up at a meeting in Sydney earlier this year to discuss new medicines. Billed as a 'Collaborative Forum' at the University of NSW, the invitation had been signed by three medical groups including Arthritis Australia. Academic kudos for the forum was provided by a major report prepared by the University of Canberra.


Gunning for Money

"Despite the colder realities of the business, the gun industry packages firearms in the sepia tint of nostalgia, conjuring up the Western frontier, fathers and sons hunting at the turn of the century, and grand moments of martial history," writes Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center. "For decades, the gun industry has portrayed itself in this way as a repository and guardian of fundamental U.S. cultural values.


Hot Air on Wall Street

Much of the Internet stock boom was a fiction, "written to script by Wall Street fixers who stood to collect, and did collect, buckets of money by duping the investing public," says Gregg Wirth, a freelance writer who has covered Wall Street for most of the past decade. "Americans were deluged with media sound bites and commercials portraying stock market trading as a virtual free ride on the gravy train.


Physician, Sell Thyself

In exchange for money, some physicians have allowed pharmaceutical sales representatives into their examining rooms to meet with patients, review medical charts and recommend what medicines to prescribe. "And some of those salespeople tried to influence doctors to prescribe drugs for uses that were not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration," reports the New York Times. A lawsuit brought by Dr. David P.


New Wrinkle on Conflict of Interest

When KENS-TV in San Antonio, Texas aired a glowing story about a "miracle wrinkle cream," it failed to mention that the product's sole distributor in San Antonio is Jennifer McCabe, an employee of the TV station who also happens to be engaged to the station's executive producer.


Why Johnny Can't Diet

With obesity a national crisis in the United States and hunger a national crisis in many parts of the Third World, the food industry is struggling with declining sales. "A recently as a decade ago, Campbell Soup Co. was posting tidy volume gains for its ubiquitous red-and-white label soups. Today, company watchers doubt Campbell can even stabilize declining sales of its condensed soup," notes Advertising Age in a story titled "Food Industry Growth Stalls." To reverse the trend, the food industry is looking for ways to get Americans to eat more.



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