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Reviews TV

Is this journalism that makes a difference?

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 15 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1093
  1. Geoff Watts, freelance medical journalist

    Some media campaigns, such as the Sunday Times' on thalidomide, have been more successful than others. Where does Panorama on paroxetine stand?

    Whenever its topic is medico-scientific, BBC Television's Panorama can induce the odd feeling of having slipped back in time. Back to a period before the advent of evidence based medicine; before, indeed, the advent of science itself. Back to a world where basic concepts such as risk, probability, coincidence, biological variation, and the nature of cause and effect seem unaccountably to have vanished-and left behind only anecdote, suspicion, and inference. I had that feeling last October when watching Panorama on “The Secrets of Seroxat” (BMJ 2002;325: 910/

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    Graham Aldred: his wife committed suicide after taking paroxetine


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    Dawn Owen: her husband tried to stab her after taking paroxetine


    Last weekend's follow up, “Seroxat: E-mails from the Edge” (BBC 1, 11 May at 10 15 pm), was prompted by the unprecedented response to its predecessor: a record 1400 emails and 67 000 phone calls. The earlier programme told of a shifty, rapacious drug …

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