Gateway Drugs

Friday, November 28, 2008


A journalist’s non-disclosure of millions in pharmaceutical company payments is an obvious conflict of interest. But Gary Schwitzer, director of the University of Minnesota’s Health Journalism Program, explains that what’s ailing news consumers is all the other subtle, insidious ways that Big Pharma’s influence turns up in the news we use.
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Comments [6]

Vince from Colorado

I agree, there is way to much of a push towards these drugs and how much you need to use for some of the most usless things. I think that this is why and how it is getting to be so bad and even worse like everyone has said than even lesser of illegal drugs. We all almost know people who take these drugs for the sure fact of just wanting to get this new high but in all actuality they are going to send themselves in a downwrd spiral.

Dec. 04 2008 11:51 AM
Allyson from Colorado

The use of pharmacuitcal drugs is helpful, but he's right; there should be a limit. I agree that some pharmacos are no more better than the drug pushers we hear of on the streets. oh, you have depression take this, this, and this. it's as if they think it will solve their problems. sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it wont. all these "illnesses" should be taken seriously without so many drugs. these issues should be taken seriously, payment issues should be taken seriously. i do not believe that one who makes the drug should sell it, of course they would say it would be good to have. Mr. Shwitzer has a very good point, but i think he's just wasting his breath because these drug pushers will keep pushing. its all about the benjamin's.

Dec. 04 2008 10:09 AM
juan martinez

pharmasutical drugs are more dangerous and a bigger problem than alcohol or even some lesser illegal drugs!Society is really hooked on drugs we try to find news ways to get a reaction of pills mostly from prescription tablets. These drug pushers are definetly just as bad as any drug dealers.

Dec. 04 2008 02:59 AM
Matt from Arlington, Virginia

We should be as concerned about pharmaceutical company payments to researchers as we are about the payments that Gary Schwitzer receives from the University of Minnesota to continue his critical assessment of health journalism.

Thinking about conflicts of interests a little further we should come to a disturbing conclusion. I health journalism's flaws are corrected, Schwitzer is out of job and sitting on decades of irrelevant research. (not uncommon in other social-scientific fields) On the other hand if pharmaceutical companies improve their products with sponsored research the health of the public and the health of the corporate bottom line both increase. Who's conflicting interests are aligned against better public health in this report.

I am sure Mr. Schwitzer is smart enough to clean up this problem and focus his work to better contribute to better health outcomes for the public instead of his own personal bottom line. I look forward to his mea culpa before Dr. Goodwin's should feel at all compelled.

Dec. 03 2008 02:12 PM
Ellen from Vermontville, NY

I believe this report did damage by propagating the alarmist message that "Big Pharma is evil" and that the results of any studies they fund are therefore suspect. True, you did uncover a conflict of interest that should have been disclosed, although you were less clear as to how the other guests on the show were complicit. However, you did not in any way show that the conclusion reached by all four doctors was incorrect.

In fact, a report from NPR's All Things Considered in September 2007 discussed the results of two academic studies which found that the rate of teen suicides jumped in the years following the black box warning on antidepressants. Link here:
In other words, the doctors were basing their conclusions on the best available evidence on how to save lives of suicidal teens. To imply that they would misrepresent the data for monetary gain seems a low blow.

Dec. 03 2008 09:03 AM
Robert from NYC

Thank you for this report it is about time that this was made public. It would be nice to have other media pick it up and follow through on the Pharma influence on EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE. The pharmacos have come to the position where they control the entire healthcare system in this country including most of all the insurance companies. And I think advertising Rx drugs should be forbidden as is the advertising of alcohol. These legal drugs are a bigger problem than alcohol or even some lesser illegal drugs! These folks are nothing but drug pushers and no better than the guy on the street who sells crack!

Nov. 30 2008 10:21 AM

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