Reviews Press

Blurring the boundaries

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7398.1094 (Published 15 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1094
  1. Ray Moynihan, Washington DC based writer (raymond.moynihan@verizon.net)

    Are sponsored news programmes a new form of paid fronts for the pharmaceutical industry?

    In the field of medicine, finding the line between education and promotion is often a daunting task, as industry sponsored events and materials dominate so many of doctors' postgraduate learning experiences.

    If recent developments in the United States media are any indication, a whole new blurring of boundaries is also happening within the world of medical news.

    Take the innovative New York based Healthology, founded by former advertising executive Dr Steven Haimowitz. Boasting 40 staff, the company makes highly accessible videos about medical conditions and treatments featuring leading physicians. These are available as “webcasts” on more than 4000 websites around the world, including the sites of news organisations such as America's ABC News and disease groups such as the International Multiple Sclerosis Support Foundation.

    Haimowitz told the BMJ earlier this week that his video programmes used the latest technology to give ordinary people access to top experts in the field. “It's the next best thing to having a visit …

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