Medicine and the Media

What a new consumer health magazine doesn’t tell you

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6817 (Published 10 October 2012)
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6817

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  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}margaretmccartney.com

A new magazine, What Doctors Don’t Tell You, claims to help the public find safer, more effective treatments. Margaret McCartney takes a critical look at the October issue

It looks just like any other magazine on the shelves of the newsagent aimed at middle aged women: glossy, 100 pages, with a smiling, confident looking woman on the cover. What Doctors Don’t Tell You, a monthly magazine that launched in September 2012, claims to explain how to “discover treatments that are safer and more effective.”

The headlines don’t mention celebrity gossip but instead promise subjects such as “Cervical cancer alert: what every mother (and daughter) should know about the new jab,” “How I avoided a hysterectomy through diet,” and “Unsteady gran? It’s drugs that cause the falls, not old age.” The magazine has regular columns, such as “Pet’s corner” and “My medical horror story,” and a column in which a retired general practitioner can “speak freely about his unorthodox but highly successful approach to treating ‘the incurables.’”

But how fairly does What Doctors Don’t Tell You reflect the evidence? It raises valid concerns in an article about the influence of the drug industry on doctors’ decision making in the United States. Another article on falls in older …

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