Tabloid Medicine: How the Internet is Being Used to Hijack Medical Science for Fear and Profit [NOOK Book]

Overview

Can you trust your health to the Internet? Nearly 8 million Americans search the Internet daily for medical advice on everything from bumps and bruises to cancer. But consumers should beware: this growing phenomenon of instantaneous medical advice, offered by “Google PhDs,” has a dark and dangerous side. Anyone can put seemingly authoritative medical advice on the Internet whether or not it has any scientific merit. In this provocative and eye-opening book, prominent health policy expert and journalist ...
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Tabloid Medicine: How the Internet is Being Used to Hijack Medical Science for Fear and Profit

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Overview

Can you trust your health to the Internet? Nearly 8 million Americans search the Internet daily for medical advice on everything from bumps and bruises to cancer. But consumers should beware: this growing phenomenon of instantaneous medical advice, offered by “Google PhDs,” has a dark and dangerous side. Anyone can put seemingly authoritative medical advice on the Internet whether or not it has any scientific merit. In this provocative and eye-opening book, prominent health policy expert and journalist Dr. Robert Goldberg reveals how the media, trial attorneys, anti-industry activists, and politicians work together to create a shadow campaign of doubt and fear about the safety of medical treatments. Dr. Goldberg reveals how the internet is used to scare the public and hide a political agenda, while preying on people’s insecurities to the ultimate detriment of both the individual and public health. Dr. Goldberg investigates the rise of the “instant expert,” and shows how this new style of medical debate allows sensationalism and celebrity status to outweigh science and knowledge. Tabloid Medicine also uncovers how anti-pharmaceutical movements on the Internet not only drive people away from taking vaccines and medicines that have been proven to work, they also undermine medical progress across the board. Because of this dangerous trend, the number of new vaccines and drugs in development is at an all-time low, despite the wealth of medical knowledge and genetic technology available. With Dr. Goldberg’s help, consumers will know where to look for health information and how to put public safety back in the hands of medical professionals.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Goldberg offers a 21st-century spin on Mark Twain's warning: "Beware of health books. You may die of a misprint." The late humorist's advice especially applies to the Internet, asserts Goldberg, a former fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and cofounder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. Assigning blame in part to Americans who insist on getting their information "fast, hassle-free, and on their own terms," Goldberg argues that biased Web sources influence patients' responses to drugs like the arthritis pain reliever Vioxx and cholesterol-lowering statin Crestor. In the case of the diabetes drug Avandia, an article written in 2007 by Dr. Steven Nissan criticizing the FDA for its slow response to risks of the drug drove down sales and continues to unfairly dog and "dominate the online environment." He also criticizes the "never-ending vaccine debate" about the disproven link between the MMR shot and autism in children--specifically, the group SafeMinds, which continues to promote the debunked theory. Online alternative-medicine advocates and bloggers aside, there's no arguing Goldberg's fundamental message: better to research drugs, diseases, and medical care the old-fashioned way--honest discussion with a doctor. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews

Vilification of critics of the pharmaceutical industry from the vice president of a market-oriented think tank.

Goldberg, co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, which waged a strong campaign against health-care reform, charges that "instant experts" are deliberately using scare tactics to manipulate health information on the Internet in order to influence public policy and corporate behavior. Emphasizing that nothing in life is risk-free, the author alleges that unrealistic concerns about the safety of drugs is impeding pharmaceutical companies from bringing new drugs to market. Examples of challenged therapies abound. In his discussion of the removal of Vioxx from the market, he describes cardiologist Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic as a "self-appointed drug regulator" who has made a career out of attacking drugs, and David Graham of the FDA's Office of Drug Safety as doing "everything possible to scare the public and further his personal grudges, at the expense of scientific truth." In Goldberg's view, there is a new movement afoot—tabloid medicine—which is trying to convince the public that pharmaceutical companies have made blatant attempts to buy doctors and scientists and that medical research receiving industry support cannot be trusted. He charges that tabloid medicine, driven by advocacy organizations and retailers of alternative medicine, is using the Internet to spread frightening stories about the risks of drugs that do not give a true picture of their benefits. To neutralize this movement, Goldberg proposes adoption of personalized medicine—i.e., the use of scientific advances such as genetic testing to match patients to treatment and thereby maximize benefits and reduce risks. He also strongly urges the medical community, including drug companies, physicians and government agencies, to use the Internet to fight back against the messages of tabloid medicine. Further, he offers Internet users in search of information about health matters some sound advice about becoming more skeptical: Investigate who created the content and who funds the website.

A heavy-handed infomercial.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607148166
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/9/2011
  • Sold by: Kaplan, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Dr. Robert Goldberg is Vice President and co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, a non-profit institute dedicated to promoting the use and understanding of technologies that make health care more predictive and personalized. Previously, he was a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research, where he was also Director of the Institute’s Center for Medical Progress and Chairman of the Center’s 21st Century FDA Reform Task Force. In 2007, he helped create www.Iguard.org, a web-based drug safety community with close to 1 million subscribers. Dr. Goldberg is one of the nation’s leading experts on health care policy, FDA reform, and biomedical innovation. Dr. Goldberg recently established and chairs CMPI’s Critical Path Initiative for Personalized Medicine. Dr. Goldberg has also emerged as an important conservative commentator on the current health care reform debate. Dr. Goldberg co-hosts CMPI's popular blog, drugwonks.com, which gets 15,000 unique page views monthly, is active on Facebook and Twitter, with around 1400 followers, and oversees several of CMPI’s websites.
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Table of Contents

Introduction iv

Chapter 1 Prospect Theory: The Risks We Choose to Live with and Why 1

Chapter 2 The Precautionary Principle: The Politics of Pseudocertainty 26

Chapter 3 Insta-Americans: The Rise of Online Self-Diagnosis 53

Chapter 4 A Damaging Precedent: The Side Effects of the Vioxx Panic 84

Chapter 5 Web of Fear: Vaccines, Autism, and the Emergence of "Instant Experts" 110

Chapter 6 The Suicide Crisis: Sowing Fear about Antidepressants 145

Chapter 7 Assault on Scientists: The Conflict-of-interest Canard 173

Chapter 8 Tabloid Medicine's Victims: Public Health and Medical Progress 209

Chapter 9 Battling Tabloid Medicine: The Personalized Medicine Revolution 242

Notes 276

Index 315

About the Author 325

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