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

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

by Robert Goldberg
     
 

From cancer to the common cold, Google has replaced the family doctor in dispensing advice about treatment options, side effects, and more. Unfortunately, much of the online health information is produced by people who know nothing about medicine or who stand to profit politically or financially by spreading fear and distrust of medical science. Alarmed by the

Overview

From cancer to the common cold, Google has replaced the family doctor in dispensing advice about treatment options, side effects, and more. Unfortunately, much of the online health information is produced by people who know nothing about medicine or who stand to profit politically or financially by spreading fear and distrust of medical science. Alarmed by the consequences of using the Web and the power of panic to steer patients away from proven treatments, health policy expert and journalist Robert Goldberg, PhD, offers the ultimate antidote to the rising epidemic of mythical medical risks. Separating the facts from the fearmongering, Dr. Goldberg draws on his years at the helm of key research projects in public policy, including serving as director of the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute and as Vice President of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. By uncovering the real stories behind the scary headlines about vaccines, Vioxx, and antidepressants, Tabloid Medicine shows us how to navigate the dangerous media messages about health we face every day. Putting medical wisdom back in the hands of scientists and physicians, Dr. Goldberg's findings cut through the sensationalism and give us the power to make healthcare decisions with information that can truly improve and save our lives.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781607147275
Publisher:
Kaplan Publishing
Publication date:
12/14/2010
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
9.46(w) x 11.70(h) x 1.12(d)

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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