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Experts criticise industry sponsorship of articles on health policy in Australian newspaper

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d6903 (Published 25 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6903
  1. Melissa Sweet
  1. 1Sydney

Ethicists and journalism leaders have raised concerns about drug industry sponsorship of health journalism in the broadsheet newspaper the Australian, owned by News Ltd, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

The newspaper’s Health of the Nation series, which appeared on 15 October and includes video footage from a meeting of health policy experts and articles on health policy (www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health-of-the-nation/if-i-were-health-minister/story-fn9iqmqf-1226167069907), advises readers that it is an “independent project” by journalists and supported by the Australian Medicines Industry, an initiative of Medicines Australia, which represents the Australian drug industry.

Another feature about general practice and health reform was entitled, “Weary troopers on the front lines of an overburdened system” (www.news.com.au/weary-troopers-on-the-front-lines-of-an/story-fn9iqmqf-1226167069588). The articles are accompanied by prominent advertisements for the drug industry.

Medicines Australia said that the arrangement arose out of meetings between its advertising agency and News Ltd’s promotions and advertising teams, which …

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