Reviews Press

PR coup for herbal cancer drug

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 30 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:804
  1. Naomi Marks, freelance journalist
  1. Brighton

    Many an oncologist must have been spluttering on their cornflakes while perusing the Daily Telegraph last week. Indeed, any doctor with a passing interest in scientific rigour might have wondered why the country's biggest selling and generally level headed broadsheet had devoted nearly the whole of a news page to an alleged miracle cure for cancer.

    Headlined “I've seen herbal remedy make tumours disappear, says respected cancer doctor,” the piece gave extraordinary coverage to Dr Rosy Daniel's belief in the efficacy of Carctol, an Indian herbal preparation, and was accompanied by testimonies from Carctol's “walking miracles.” It was written by the paper's medical editor, Celia Hall.

    Dr Daniel is a former medical director of the Bristol Cancer Help Centre and an integrated medicine specialist of some repute. She is newsworthy in her own right. Still, for a newspaper to give such prominence to the claims of an alternative health product yet to undergo clinical trials is an unusual editorial step.

    Receiving it, however, is a “gift” of which …

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