Public Radio Show Criticized For Undisclosed Ties To Drug Companies
May 8, 2008 at 12:03 PM (PT)
Public radio show "THE INFINITE MIND" has won awards for its coverage of neuroscience and mental illness and wellness, but online magazine SLATE is questioning the show's independence after a recent episode of the show, "Prozac Nation: Revisited," featured four experts allegedly dismissing the dangers of antidepressants without disclosing that they all allegedly have financial ties to the makers of antidepressants and that the show itself has received grants from drug makers, including Prozac manufacturer ELI LILLY.
SLATE's SHANNON BROWNLEE and JEANNE LENZER write that "undisclosed financial conflicts of interest among media sources seem to be popping up all over the place these days. Some experts who appear independent are, in fact, serving as stealth marketers for the drug and biotech industries, and reporters either don't know about their sources' conflicts of interests, or they fail to disclose them to the public."
Host Dr. FRED GOODWIN, SLATE reports, is on the board of drug company-funded organization CENTER FOR MEDICINE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, whose President, PETER PITTS, was one of the episode's guests and who also serves as an SVP at PR firm MANNING SELVAGE AND LEE, which represents LILLY and other major pharmaceutical companies. Another guest, UCLA professor ANDREW F. LEUCHTER, has received research money from LILLY, PFIZER, and NOVARTIS, according to SLATE, while guest NADA STOTLAND of the AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION served on the speakers' bureaus of GLAZOSMITHKLINE and PFIZER.
The article also criticizes other shows, including NBC NIGHTLY NEWS, for interviewing researchers without disclosing the subjects' financial ties to companies with a vested interest in their research.
"THE INFINITE MIND" is produced by LCMEDIA with the FUND FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA and airs on WNYC-A/NEW YORK, WAMU/WASHINGTON, WUMB/BOSTON, WABE/ATLANTA, and several other stations nationwide.