Tag Archives: international

For context, add global dimension to your reporting

Trudy Lieberman

Trudy Lieberman

Veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman says that she’s long observed that U.S. health reporters are reluctant to reach out globally to inform their reporting.

She points out that the health stories we’re asked to report are the same ones our counterparts abroad are writing and that this “reportorial parochialism results in poor understanding of foreign health care and makes it easy to report misleading or false claims because we have no knowledge to judge their correctness or to give context so audiences can judge for themselves.” Continue reading

International panel formed as resource for journalists

green-globeSix AHCJ members are part of a new international effort to share information about how other countries’ health systems work.

The Panel of International Journalists was the brainchild of former AHCJ president Trudy Lieberman and created with the help of Noralou P. Roos, Ph.D., and the Evidence Network of Canadian Health Policy (commonly known as EvidenceNetwork.ca), as Lieberman explains in this CJR piece.

The New York-based journalist wanted to “encourage more cross-country conversation and tap into the expertise of colleagues in other countries who report on the same health and medical issues we do.” Continue reading

Looking at the ‘adventure’ philanthropy of dental professionals

Photo courtesy of Bart Roach

Photo courtesy of Bart Roach

Sara Schilling of the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., recently caught up with a local dentist who channels his wanderlust into helping others.

His name is Bart Roach.

When Roach is not taking care of his own patients and pitching in at a local clinic for the poor, he is trekking to faraway places where children are suffering from untreated disease.

The walls of his office are decorated with images and souvenirs of his travels. The computer in his office is filled with the photographs, Schilling writes. Continue reading

Going international for dental care: Questions patients should ask

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are traveling abroad each year for health care services.

Many factors are helping to drive the medical tourism trend, including the aging of the baby boom generation, cheap airfares, a growing number of online resources dedicated to health-related travel and the promise of savings on costly procedures such as major dental restorations that patients lacking coverage would need to pay for out-of-pocket care.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo playerBettie Cross of  KEYE-Austin, Texas, took a look at dental vacations in a recent segment. She talked with patients who headed to Mexico for dental care and came back with different stories to tell.

Kim Conley, who decided to get three dental implants in Cancun, returned with video tapes her husband made documenting everything from the resort where they stayed to the dental office where she got her treatments. Continue reading

Barlett & Steele uncover chaos, peril of global drug industry

In Vanity Fair, Donald Barlett and James Steele have devoted more than 6,000 words to chronicling the gaping holes in the global pharmaceutical industry, particularly as pertains to the globalization of clinical trials. Even if you’re familiar with many of the specific incidents covered, their cumulative effect, driven home with forceful and authoritative prose, is brutal. Each paragraph holds another tale of trials gone wrong, children killed and bad results that somehow never came to the attention of American regulators.

globePhoto by amyvdh via Flickr

It used to be that clinical trials were done mostly by academic researchers in universities and teaching hospitals, a system that, however imperfect, generally entailed certain minimum standards. The free market has changed all that. Today it is mainly independent contractors who recruit potential patients both in the U.S. and—increasingly—overseas.

They devise the rules for the clinical trials, conduct the trials themselves, prepare reports on the results, ghostwrite technical articles for medical journals, and create promotional campaigns. The people doing the work on the front lines are not independent scientists. They are wage-earning technicians who are paid to gather a certain number of human beings; sometimes sequester and feed them; administer certain chemical inputs; and collect samples of urine and blood at regular intervals. The work looks like agribusiness, not research.

After neatly setting up each pin with demonstrations of how international the pharmaceutical industry has become, then proceed to knock them all down with examples of industry impunity and FDA weakness.

The F.D.A., the federal agency charged with oversight of the food and drugs that Americans consume, is rife with conflicts of interest. Doctors who insist the drug you take is perfectly safe may be collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company selling the drug. … Quite often, the F.D.A. never bothers to check for interlocking financial interests. In one study, the agency failed to document the financial interests of applicants in 31 percent of applications for new-drug approval. Even when the agency or the company knew of a potential conflict of interest, neither acted to guard against bias in the test results.


WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout in Nigeria