Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews The Press

How PR firms use research to sell products

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 26 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:530
  1. Petra Boynton, non-clinical lecturer (,
  2. Sara Shaw, senior research fellow,
  3. Will Callaghan, health journalist
  1. department of primary care and population sciences, University College London
  2. London

    In the past month we have seen some pretty astonishing research. Studies have proved that moving to the countryside, drinking wine, or discussing your relationship problems in bed can improve sexual problems. Owning a pet helps you recover more quickly from illness, testosterone causes unsafe sex, and if your eyes are brown or green they are officially the “wrong” colour. But texting is good for your mental health.

    You may not have been privy to these discoveries unless, like us, you have an interest in what research appears in the lay media, or are regularly targeted by public relations companies.

    While many questions have been asked about research undertaken by pharmaceutical companies, until …

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