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Informing Physicians About Promising New Treatments for Severe Disease

Jack R. Harnes, MD
JAMA. 1990;264(15):1947-1948. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450150045023.
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To the Editor.—  In their Special Communication, Drs Steinbrook and Lo1 state: "At minimum, we suggest that unconventional communications contain as much detail as a structured abstract in a medical journal."I note that Dr Steinbrook is associated with the Los Angeles Times and I am aware that other major newspapers and television networks have physician or science reporters.I suggest that, at minimum, the media have a responsibility to the public, including physicians, to critique medical news releases. When studies have inadequate numbers of subjects, have no control groups, or follow-up is inadequate, to cite but a few examples that should be apparent to any physicianreporter, the information provided in the news release should be commented on to alert the public of any possible deficiencies in the reports. When appropriate, the criticisms of other physician experts should be quoted in the articles.Some years ago I discussed this


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