Letters Response

The Australian responds to Ray Moynihan and Melissa Sweet

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7725 (Published 29 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7725
  1. Clive Mathieson, editor1,
  2. Adam Cresswell, health editor1
  1. 1The Australian, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Australia
  1. cresswella{at}theaustralian.com.au

In his recent critique of the Health of the Nation series published by Australia’s national daily newspaper, The Australian, Ray Moynihan concludes with a plea that health reporting be done “fairly and accurately.”1 We agree and wish that he and fellow critic Melissa Sweet had held themselves to the same standards.2

Ms Sweet quoted Gary Schwitzer as claiming that the series—which was sponsored by the Australian pharmaceutical industry’s umbrella body, Medicines Australia—amounted to the “drug industry influencing public discussions in one more infectious way.” Mr Moynihan claimed that one of the deal’s “most insidious effects will be self-censorship—invisible, immeasurable, but chilling in its effect on the free flow of public debate.” No evidence was offered to support such assertions, which is not surprising because they are not true.

Two issues need to be considered. The first is …

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