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Posted on: Friday, February 18, 2000
An Overdose of Medical Optimism email to the editor

The February 14th issue of the Los Angeles Times featured a two-page article about major medical and scientific journals and their role in mass media.

This was an in depth article regarding the methods used by major medical journals to get their stories into headline news.

The article points out the fact that medical journals have become "cash cows" for their owners. It was noted that two of the leading medical publications, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, although "peer reviewed" are more concerned about profits than reliability according to critics.

L.A. Times writer Terence Monmaney, notes that the New England Journal of Medicine "apparently has violated its own ethics policy numerous times in the past three years, publishing articles by researchers with drug company ties and not disclosing the potential conflicts of interest."

A newspaper reporter was quoted as saying that medical journals are "so hungry for publicity that they really trump up their papers to an astonishing degree. The abstracts they send to journalists are really over-hyped."

News organizations and the public are the potential victims of this growing desire for profits and acclaim, according to the article. These motives may result in distorted medical hype and propaganda rather than honest news.

Note: The L.A. Times has began charging a fee to access their information on the internet so rather than linking to the article, we will link you directly to the L.A. Times so that you can access the article if you so choose. Follow the link below.

Medical Journals Exercise Clout in News Coverage: Major publications set the agenda, exercising what some reporters call a stranglehold on coverage.

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