Hope or Hype for physicians

I’m a proponent of physicians becoming more active in interpreting and pushing back against medical marketing, so I was heartened to read the review of Hope or Hype: The Obsession with Medical Advances and the High Cost of False Promises in this week’s JAMA.

Informed, accountable physicians may need to counsel patients more accurately that many new drugs and devices are tested on a relatively small sample… Further, physicians are counseled here that we and our governing agencies do not recognize the potential of new drugs until dozens of individual patients suffer harm. Medical staff for newspapers and television feed these hypes and hopes…, sensationalizing marginal research for the sake of catchy headlines and viewership ratings.

Even if they don’t read the book, a lot of physicians will read this review in JAMA and it may wake them up a bit.

September 22, 2005

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