Informed, engaged communities for health

Search
Generic filters
Filter by Categories
@WePublicHealth2021
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#MHReform
#OutOfTheBox
#QldVotesHealth
#RCIADIC30Years
#RuralHealthJustice
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#TRIPSwaiver
2021 Floods
Budget2020Health
Bushfires
codesign
community control
COVID-19
Croakey Conference News Service
#2020ResearchExcellence
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#GiantSteps21
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#RANZCP2021
#SAHeapsUnfair
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
Croakey Professional Services
#BetterCareCOVID
#CommunityControl
#COVIDthinktank21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
ACSQHC series
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2020
#CommunityMatters
#CoveringClimateNow
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyREAD
#CroakeyVOICES
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HealthyCOP26
#HousingJusticeAus
#JusticeCOVID
#LookingLocal
#MRFFtransparency
#OutOfPocket
#TalkingTeeth
AroundTheTraps
Caring for the Frontline
COVID SNAPS
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey longreads
CroakeyEXPLORE
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
PIJ Commissions 2020
Summer Reading 2019-2020
The Conversation
The Health Wrap
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
CroakeyNews
Cultural determinants of health
Digital platforms
Elections and budgets
Federal Budget 2019-20
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2021-22
Global health and climate change
2019-20 climate bushfire emergency
asylum seeker and refugee health
Climate emergency
disasters
Ebola
extreme weather events
flooding 2011
global health
NHS
NZ Election 2017
WHO
health
Health workers
Healthcare and health reform
abortion
adverse events
aged care
allied health care
Australian Medical Association
cancer
cardiovascular disease
child health
Choosing Wisely
chronic diseases
co-payments
Cochrane Collaboration
complementary medicines
conflicts of interest
death and dying
diabetes
digital technology
disabilities
e-health
emergency departments and care
Equally Well
euthanasia
evidence-based issues
general practice
genetics
health & medical marketing
health and medical education
health and medical research
Health Care Homes
health ethics
health financing and costs
health reform
health regulation
health workforce
HIV/AIDS
hospitals
HRT
infectious diseases
influenza
international medical graduates
journal articles
LGBTIQ
medical marijuana
Medicare Locals
men's health
mental health
MyHospitals website
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
naturopathy
NDIS
NHMRC
non communicable diseases
nurses and nursing
oral health
organ transplants
out of pocket costs
pain
palliative care
paramedics
pathology
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
pharmaceutical industry
pharmacy
Pregnancy and childbirth
primary health care
Primary Health Networks
private health insurance
quality and safety of health care
rural and remote health
screening
sexual health
social media and healthcare
suicide
surgery
swine flu
telehealth
tests
TGA
trauma
women's health
youth health
Indigenous health
#CTG10
#NTRC
Acknowledgement
cultural safety
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
social and emotional wellbeing
Uluru Statement
WA community closures
News about Croakey
PIJ Commissions 2021
Public health and population health
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
air pollution
alcohol
consumer health matters
COVIDwrap
environmental health
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
food and nutrition
gambling
Government 2.0
gun control
health communications
health impact assessment
Health in All Policies
health inequalities
health literacy
human rights
illicit drugs
injuries
legal issues
marriage equality
Media Doctor Australia
media-related issues
nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
obesity
occupational health
physical activity
plain packaging
prevention
public health
public interest journalism
road safety
sport
sugar tax
tobacco control
transport
vaccination
violence
Web 2.0
weight loss products
Royal Commission
Social determinants of health
discrimination
education
housing
justice
Justice Reinvestment
NBN
Newstart
poverty
racism
social policy
Summer reading 2020-2021
Tasmanian election 2021
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2019
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
Croakey Professional Services archive
#bettercareseries
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
ACSQHC series 2019
Croakey projects archive
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer Reading 2016-2017
Summer Reading 2017-2018
The Koori Woman
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
#HealthElection16
Federal Budget 2009-2010
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Budget 2014-15
Federal Budget 2015-16
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Budget 2017/18
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Election 2010
Federal Election 2013
Federal Election 2016
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2015
NSW Election 2019
NT Election 2016
Qld Election 2015
Victorian Election 2014
WA election 2021
Support non-profit public interest journalism
Search
Generic filters
Filter by Categories
@WePublicHealth2021
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#MHReform
#OutOfTheBox
#QldVotesHealth
#RCIADIC30Years
#RuralHealthJustice
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#TRIPSwaiver
2021 Floods
Budget2020Health
Bushfires
codesign
community control
COVID-19
Croakey Conference News Service
#2020ResearchExcellence
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#GiantSteps21
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#RANZCP2021
#SAHeapsUnfair
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
Croakey Professional Services
#BetterCareCOVID
#CommunityControl
#COVIDthinktank21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
ACSQHC series
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2020
#CommunityMatters
#CoveringClimateNow
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyREAD
#CroakeyVOICES
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HealthyCOP26
#HousingJusticeAus
#JusticeCOVID
#LookingLocal
#MRFFtransparency
#OutOfPocket
#TalkingTeeth
AroundTheTraps
Caring for the Frontline
COVID SNAPS
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey longreads
CroakeyEXPLORE
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
PIJ Commissions 2020
Summer Reading 2019-2020
The Conversation
The Health Wrap
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
CroakeyNews
Cultural determinants of health
Digital platforms
Elections and budgets
Federal Budget 2019-20
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2021-22
Global health and climate change
2019-20 climate bushfire emergency
asylum seeker and refugee health
Climate emergency
disasters
Ebola
extreme weather events
flooding 2011
global health
NHS
NZ Election 2017
WHO
health
Health workers
Healthcare and health reform
abortion
adverse events
aged care
allied health care
Australian Medical Association
cancer
cardiovascular disease
child health
Choosing Wisely
chronic diseases
co-payments
Cochrane Collaboration
complementary medicines
conflicts of interest
death and dying
diabetes
digital technology
disabilities
e-health
emergency departments and care
Equally Well
euthanasia
evidence-based issues
general practice
genetics
health & medical marketing
health and medical education
health and medical research
Health Care Homes
health ethics
health financing and costs
health reform
health regulation
health workforce
HIV/AIDS
hospitals
HRT
infectious diseases
influenza
international medical graduates
journal articles
LGBTIQ
medical marijuana
Medicare Locals
men's health
mental health
MyHospitals website
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
naturopathy
NDIS
NHMRC
non communicable diseases
nurses and nursing
oral health
organ transplants
out of pocket costs
pain
palliative care
paramedics
pathology
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
pharmaceutical industry
pharmacy
Pregnancy and childbirth
primary health care
Primary Health Networks
private health insurance
quality and safety of health care
rural and remote health
screening
sexual health
social media and healthcare
suicide
surgery
swine flu
telehealth
tests
TGA
trauma
women's health
youth health
Indigenous health
#CTG10
#NTRC
Acknowledgement
cultural safety
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
social and emotional wellbeing
Uluru Statement
WA community closures
News about Croakey
PIJ Commissions 2021
Public health and population health
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
air pollution
alcohol
consumer health matters
COVIDwrap
environmental health
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
food and nutrition
gambling
Government 2.0
gun control
health communications
health impact assessment
Health in All Policies
health inequalities
health literacy
human rights
illicit drugs
injuries
legal issues
marriage equality
Media Doctor Australia
media-related issues
nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
obesity
occupational health
physical activity
plain packaging
prevention
public health
public interest journalism
road safety
sport
sugar tax
tobacco control
transport
vaccination
violence
Web 2.0
weight loss products
Royal Commission
Social determinants of health
discrimination
education
housing
justice
Justice Reinvestment
NBN
Newstart
poverty
racism
social policy
Summer reading 2020-2021
Tasmanian election 2021
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2019
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
Croakey Professional Services archive
#bettercareseries
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
ACSQHC series 2019
Croakey projects archive
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer Reading 2016-2017
Summer Reading 2017-2018
The Koori Woman
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
#HealthElection16
Federal Budget 2009-2010
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Budget 2014-15
Federal Budget 2015-16
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Budget 2017/18
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Election 2010
Federal Election 2013
Federal Election 2016
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2015
NSW Election 2019
NT Election 2016
Qld Election 2015
Victorian Election 2014
WA election 2021

Adam Cresswell responds to concerns about Medicines Australia’s deal with The Australian

Adam Cresswell, the health editor at The Australian, responds to recent comments at Crikey and Croakey, about the newspaper’s Health of the Nations series that was sponsored by Medicines Australia.

Adam Cresswell writes:

The most remarkable aspect of the criticisms of The Australian’s recent Health of the Nation series  is that few of the individuals making the comments seem to have read a word of it.

Charles Ornstein, president of the US-based Association of Healthcare Journalists, does at least concede this. For most of the others, including Amanda Wilson, Wendy Lipworth and Gary Schwitzer, the omission is implicit in the points they make.

Does this matter? To borrow a phrase from Gary Schwitzer, you bet it does – for it allows a blurring of two quite separate issues.

On the one hand, there are the overall principles, and whether media organisations can insulate their coverage from the conflicts of interest such arrangements risk creating.

Secondly, there is the more specific question of whether the HOTN series did in fact pander to the commercial or other interests of the drug industry.

These questions appear to have been treated as one and the same. What results is a melange of speculative and unfounded commentary that wrongly implies The Australian and its journalists were either told what to write by Medicines Australia, or recognised on which side their bread was buttered and toed a corporate line without explicit instruction. These implications are completely false.

First, the basics. You would think that any fair discussion about whether a newspaper series had  been compromised by sponsors would begin with an outline of what had been printed as part of the series. Strangely, Croakey did not attempt this.

For the record: 12 pages of coverage were published in the Inquirer section of The Weekend Australian for the HOTN series (selected elements of which were later reprinted in the HOTN magazine on 22 October.)

Of these, just one page (published on 27 August) addressed medicines policy. It contained an even-handed account of the affordability challenges created by expensive new drugs that, for all the hope they offered patients, often translated into very slender improvements in patient outcomes. This article was accompanied by a comment from an independent expert, chosen by myself, who argued taxpayers should be paying much less than current practice for a range of generic drugs on the PBS – a policy that is anathema to Medicines Australia, the series sponsor.

And as far as drugs and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme are concerned, that was pretty much it.

The other elements of the series addressed various systemic strains: the rise of chronic disease and the altered balance of hospital and community care required to cope with this; areas such as mental and dental care that are currently not well provided for; the pressures linked to population ageing, and the difficulties with introducing electronic health records.

It’s not clear to me how any of that is advancing the interests of Big Pharma, yet Croakey is content to quote its various interviewees, many of whom appear not to have read any of it, to make all sorts of criticisms, even contradictory ones.

For example, it is hard to see how Gary Schwitzer could justify asking whether The Australian would continue to “aggressively report on future drug industry issues” had he been aware of what the paper has published. The matter is not in question, as The Australian has already proved it scrutinises the drug industry at least as much, if not more than any other paper. On 30 July, when the HOTN series was already under way (and long before the recent spate of stories on this topic), the paper ran a story that Pfizer, the world’s largest drug giant, was paying pharmacists $7 a time “to enrol patients in support programs in an effort to ensure they keep taking the pills the drug company makes” – potentially earning pharmacists $8000 a year.

This pursuit has continued. On Monday October 10, two days after the series ended, The Australian reported the drug industry had been “paying specialists up to $1500 to sell the benefits of new products to their peers… raising questions about the independence of the medical profession”; while on Thursday 20 October, we ran a story that drug giant GlaxoSmithKline was “leading a push to have drug companies name the doctors they pay to promote drugs”.

Several other claims need to be addressed. Schwitzer also asks this: “Since when do journalists partner with/collaborate with/have commercial agreements with … the drug industry they must cover?” The answer is simple:  the journalists don’t. We never have, and we never will – the partnership, as with any advertising deal, was with the advertising department, and the journalists remained free to report as they saw fit. This is no cute hair-splitting, but a crucial distinction on which all newspaper newsrooms rely.

Similarly, Amanda Wilson asks if the series is “just another way to get around the legislation on direct to consumer advertising”. It’s not clear what product she thinks was being advertised, because there wasn’t one.

Finally, another interviewee, Christopher Jordens, wrongly refers to the HOTN series being described as “a consumer initiative” (in fact, the term consumer initiative was applied to the name The Australian Medicines Industry, which is a new moniker adopted by Medicines Australia) and then accuses me of trotting out “the same old story that Australia’s public health system is in ‘crisis’”.

Jordens adds that I’m “willing to tell that story even though the results of the Newspoll survey tell a different story if you view the figures differently”.

Well, lies, damned lies and all that. I can’t actually find a reference in anything I wrote for the series about the health system being “in crisis” – perhaps a headline did, or perhaps Jordens glanced a bit too rapidly at a reference (in the story published on 27 August) to the federal government having itself “fuelled a perception that a crisis is at hand” with regards to PBS sustainability.

Regardless of whether the word “crisis” was indeed used, or the meaning of that conveyed, it’s a stretch to suggest that by making the uncontroversial remark that the health system is under strain, The Australian was furthering a sponsor’s commercial agenda.

To concede the point requires us to accept that not only is The Australian in the drug industry’s pocket, so is anyone else who has described the system as being at crisis point – which would include all 10 members of the former National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, and Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon, to name just a few – a conspiracy that ought to be too daft even for Croakey.

Just like Croakey, which it should be noted is partly funded by the Public Health Association of Australia and other interest groups, newspaper pages are indeed for sale – that’s why it’s possible to buy advertising space on them.

But the news content is never for sale, and that remains true even when – especially when – the advertising is the result of a sponsorship deals such as this.

 

Comments 8

  1. William says:

    Welcome to my world Adam. That of the clinician researcher. Where one is assumed guilty until proven innocent and where any relationship whatsoever with a commercial entity is interpreted as tantamount to malpractice.

    Likewise, clinical research needs to be organised and funded (especially in an environment where governments have abrogated this responsibility almost entirely) but that doesn’t mean clinical researchers have been bought.

  2. chris.jordens@sydney.edu.au says:

    The title of your article in the 24-page magazine is “Breaking Point”. Doesn’t this convey the meaning of a crisis? Also, it’s a bit glib to cite the figures from the Newspoll survey in your article and then dismiss them here as “damned lies”. Finally, I never argued that “anyone who describes the health system as being at crisis point is in the drug industry’s pocket”.

    The aim of the HOTN series was to “stimulate consideration, discussion and debate about health issues in Australia”. This actually seems to be happening. Journalism is an important “health issue” because it is one of the main ways that the public gets “health information”.

    A key point of contention seems to be that you (and some others contributing to this forum) seem to be arguing that the HOTN series is just “business as usual”, where advertisers pay for ads and journalists independently determine the news content and everything is fine so long as industry funding is disclosed.

    Others in this forum see the arrangement as a new development – a new way of underwriting health journalism in which the advertisers fund the features in which their ads appear. You dismiss qualms about this as “speculative and unfounded”. But aren’t you concerned if the very arrangement raises doubts and suspicions?

    As for my misattribution of ‘consumer health initiative’, you’re right. We’re supposed to believe that the Australian Medicines Industry is a “consumer initiative”. It’s still insidious spin.

  3. Wendy Lipworth says:

    Adam, you make a fair point about the commentators’ knowledge of the content of the articles.

    As one of the commentators, I would, however, like to point out that I went to great pains *not* to conflate the issue of the content of the articles with that of industry-journalist relationships in general.
    “From my perspective, this gets right to the heart of the issues of industry-media
    relationships and the effects of even indirect financial ties on the content and tone of reporting.I would, therefore, be worried not so much about the content of reports in this particular series (which I am sure will be very carefully balanced if they discuss industry issues), but rather about the effect of the industry support for this series on subsequent reporting of industry-related issues.”

    Similarly, my point about advertising appearing on the same page would apply irrespective of the specific content of the articles.

    Wendy

  4. mediadiagnosis says:

    I’m with Adam Cresswell on this one. His journalistic integrity as far as I’m concerned is beyond reproach and for people to even think about commenting without reading the journalistic content is, quite frankly, reprehensible. The sad reality is, advertising in newspapers pays journalists’ wages. As long as it doesn’t dictate news content, I don’t see it as a major problem. Would you all prefer that newspapers don’t have dedicated, experienced health reporters and medical stories were instead written by junior reporters with no experience in handling the constant barrage of calls from PR companies hired by big pharma companies? Without maintaining advertising revenue, that’s where, I fear, newspapers are heading. I respect Croakey for raising the issue. It IS worthy of debate. I just think it’s unrealistic to expect The Australian to knock back sponsorship dollars merely because it comes from Medicines Australia. Anyone working in the mainstream media at the moment knows the tight budgetary restraints we face. In my opinion, to have knocked back the Medicines Australia sponsorship, when there was clearly no attempt to dictate editorial content, would have been a mistake. Discussions like this, keep us on our toes. That’s great. I just think in this case, concerns are hugely misguided.

  5. ron batagol says:

    I think it’s important to clearly disinguish between a Drug Company having a role in content eg. Drug Company-sponsored lectures about a product made by them, under the guise of education, which I do object to, and financial sponsorship without any involvement in content in an independent mainstream or medical media discussing a range of health and medical isues in a forum context, which I would have no objection to.

    Indeed, there’s a an exquisite twist of logic in the form of a question that I would raise here for the “purist, holier than thou” brigade. Why is it OK for any “opinion leader”, say a health analyst, leader of a recognised Health-related Group or a health professional to accept an Advisory Role, as they quite properly do, for an Advisory Committee, usually with some financial reimbursement, set up by Government, and yet no one would, nor indeed should, even think to question their impartiality when they offer objective criticism of some anti-Government health proposal concerning issues related to that advisory role?

    Yet, if someone with specialised health expertise, be it journalism or health professional, uses financial resources resources from the Industry to fund a project in which they control the content, we immediately conjure up the “slippery slope” concern.

    What’s the difference?

  6. Melissa Sweet says:

    Adam Cresswell asked me to post this comment on his behalf:

    “Thanks Chris. I did contact you trying to find out what you were referring to in saying I had portrayed the system as being “in crisis”, so I appreciate you taking the time to clarify that.

    There are two points to make on that particular issue. The first is that the story you refer to appeared in two separate versions, and the “Breaking Point” headline appeared in the second of those, published on October 22 in the HOTN magazine. The HOTN series proper was published in The Weekend Australian over several months, between July 30 and October 15, and the magazine was a attempt to summarise some of its elements in cut-down form. So this particular story had been published in its original, full version in the Inquirer section of The Weekend Australian some weeks earlier (in this case, August 20-21). In this, if you like “proper”, newspaper version, the headline was “Your test results” – which I trust you will agree does not support your suggestion that I was determined to wilfully exaggerate the situation.

    The second point is that the journalists who write the articles are almost never the same journalists who write the headlines. I was aware of, and had some insight into the production processes involved for the Inquirer pages, including the headlines, but the magazine was put together by a different team (ie not the news team close to where I work) and so I was not aware of the headlines until they appeared (it would have been unusual if I had been).

    I realise the distinction between writers and sub-editors seems slight, even irrelevant to outsiders, and obviously as employees we all share a collective responsibility to get things right and to provide accountability when mistakes are made. But while I don’t think the “Breaking Point” headline was ideal by any means, I don’t think either that it was enough to damn the entire article, let alone the entire series. And I don’t think it’s fair to use these two words, which were written by somebody else and appeared only on a secondary version of the story (which would, therefore, already have been seen or read by most of the paper’s subscribers) to blame me personally, as you do, for what you take to be the underlying thrust of the entire piece – while ignoring the approximately 1500 words that followed, which were written by me. I don’t believe those 1500 words comprising the story itself painted a picture of a system “in crisis” as you suggest; I think it was quite moderate, and balanced, and addressed an important issue – that of cost and access. I invite interested readers to read the piece and decide for themselves. It can be found here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/results-of-the-nations-health-check-are-back/story-fn59niix-1226117941727

    Next, I didn’t “dismiss” the Newspoll figures as “damned lies”. You had challenged my interpretation of the figures, suggesting your own interpretation – that there is no crisis (again, I hadn’t said there was) — was the correct one. I then cited this well-known “damned lies” quote to acknowledge that statistics like this can indeed be framed in a number of different ways – and that each interpretation has its own claim to validity. You are perfectly entitled to contest my interpretation, but it’s not merely mine – the view expressed in the piece, that out-of-pocket costs (and waiting times) are posing a growing problem particularly for the less well-off, is shared by organisations such as the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, and has in the past also been championed by Croakey. I’m not asserting that I have made no errors in interpreting the figures. Instead, I’m challenging – I would argue, refuting – what I take to be your implication that my interpretation is either deliberately shaped by me to suit Medicines Australia’s interests, or coincidentally aligns with those.

    Finally, I’m not dismissing all concerns as “speculative and unfounded”. That comment was directed at several quotes in the original Croakey post which concerned the editorial contents of the series, yet seemed to be to have been made from a position of almost total ignorance of what those contents comprised. One interviewee asked if the series amounted to direct-to-consumer advertising, presumably suggesting to many Croakey readers who hadn’t seen it that the series included multiple promotions for named drugs – yet no-one who had looked at the series with even passing interest could have possibly formed such a view. No drugs we spruiked or written of in glowing terms – in fact, as far as I can recall, only one drug was even named (the cancer drug Erbitux, as part of a discussion of PBS sustainability). None of this was out of the ordinary in a story about health care costs and treatments, nor were any drug companies identified inappropriately.

    I think Amanda Wilson was right to describe the arrangement as “unusual”, and I fully accept there are dangers in such arrangements if not handled properly. However, I would argue we did handle them properly. And yes, of course I’m very concerned if, as you say, the arrangement “raises doubts and suspicions”, which is why I think it’s important to spend a bit of time engaging with you and others about these concerns, and if possible putting them to rest. To at least some extent at least, I hope I have now succeeded.”

  7. Melissa Sweet says:

    To Ron: Your comment, inadvertently perhaps, underlines one of the reasons for concern about the funding and distribution arrangements of the HOTN series. As you point out, there is considerable debate about the merits of experts being funded by commercial interests, whether to write reports or do research or participate in marketing and PR campaigns. You also note concerns about the potential for COI for those involved with government/bureaucratic agendas and initiatives. Clearly these are contentious issues, and the subject of regular debate in the research literature as well as the mainstream press. A recent Croakey post linked to hundreds of recent academic articles investigating pharma marketing and COI-related issues. When a major media organisation engages in similar practices, then clearly this raises concerns about its future ability to report upon or investigate others engaging in such practices. There are also important unanswered questions around corporate and editorial governance in this case – did The Australian’s editor know the HOTN magazine was going to be distributed by pharma companies?

Leave a Reply to mediadiagnosis Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search by: Categories or tags

Search
Generic filters
Filter by Categories
@WePublicHealth2021
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#MHReform
#OutOfTheBox
#QldVotesHealth
#RCIADIC30Years
#RuralHealthJustice
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#TRIPSwaiver
2021 Floods
Budget2020Health
Bushfires
codesign
community control
COVID-19
Croakey Conference News Service
#2020ResearchExcellence
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#GiantSteps21
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#NNF2021
#RANZCP2021
#SAHeapsUnfair
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
Croakey Professional Services
#BetterCareCOVID
#CommunityControl
#COVIDthinktank21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
ACSQHC series
Healthdirect Australia series 2019
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2020
#CommunityMatters
#CoveringClimateNow
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyREAD
#CroakeyVOICES
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HealthyCOP26
#HousingJusticeAus
#JusticeCOVID
#LookingLocal
#MRFFtransparency
#OutOfPocket
#TalkingTeeth
AroundTheTraps
Caring for the Frontline
COVID SNAPS
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey longreads
CroakeyEXPLORE
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
PIJ Commissions 2020
Summer Reading 2019-2020
The Conversation
The Health Wrap
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
CroakeyNews
Cultural determinants of health
Digital platforms
Elections and budgets
Federal Budget 2019-20
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2021-22
Global health and climate change
2019-20 climate bushfire emergency
asylum seeker and refugee health
Climate emergency
disasters
Ebola
extreme weather events
flooding 2011
global health
NHS
NZ Election 2017
WHO
health
Health workers
Healthcare and health reform
abortion
adverse events
aged care
allied health care
Australian Medical Association
cancer
cardiovascular disease
child health
Choosing Wisely
chronic diseases
co-payments
Cochrane Collaboration
complementary medicines
conflicts of interest
death and dying
diabetes
digital technology
disabilities
e-health
emergency departments and care
Equally Well
euthanasia
evidence-based issues
general practice
genetics
health & medical marketing
health and medical education
health and medical research
Health Care Homes
health ethics
health financing and costs
health reform
health regulation
health workforce
HIV/AIDS
hospitals
HRT
infectious diseases
influenza
international medical graduates
journal articles
LGBTIQ
medical marijuana
Medicare Locals
men's health
mental health
MyHospitals website
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
naturopathy
NDIS
NHMRC
non communicable diseases
nurses and nursing
oral health
organ transplants
out of pocket costs
pain
palliative care
paramedics
pathology
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
pharmaceutical industry
pharmacy
Pregnancy and childbirth
primary health care
Primary Health Networks
private health insurance
quality and safety of health care
rural and remote health
screening
sexual health
social media and healthcare
suicide
surgery
swine flu
telehealth
tests
TGA
trauma
women's health
youth health
Indigenous health
#CTG10
#NTRC
Acknowledgement
cultural safety
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
social and emotional wellbeing
Uluru Statement
WA community closures
News about Croakey
PIJ Commissions 2021
Public health and population health
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
air pollution
alcohol
consumer health matters
COVIDwrap
environmental health
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
food and nutrition
gambling
Government 2.0
gun control
health communications
health impact assessment
Health in All Policies
health inequalities
health literacy
human rights
illicit drugs
injuries
legal issues
marriage equality
Media Doctor Australia
media-related issues
nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
obesity
occupational health
physical activity
plain packaging
prevention
public health
public interest journalism
road safety
sport
sugar tax
tobacco control
transport
vaccination
violence
Web 2.0
weight loss products
Royal Commission
Social determinants of health
discrimination
education
housing
justice
Justice Reinvestment
NBN
Newstart
poverty
racism
social policy
Summer reading 2020-2021
Tasmanian election 2021
Testing Croakey News category 1
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2019
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2015 conferences