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If you have ever suffered from serious, ongoing pain (RSI, anyone?) you know the desire to take something, anything, to make it go away. What if you were told that you may have a risk as high as 2% of developing heart problems as a result of the painkiller? Would that stop you? And what if you were told that your risk without the drugs was 1%? Would that make you any more likely to start taking the pills?

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Until the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the recall of Vioxx seemed to be the biggest corporate disaster of the new millennium.

Picture of Angilee Shah

When Dr. R. Jan Gurley (a.k.a. Doc Gurley) went to Haiti to provide emergency medical care earlier this year, it blew her mind that she could carry her entire medical library with her on her iPhone. "My entire medical library, including little videos of how to do really invasive procedures, is on my iPhone. I should be able to text, upload photos and even little bits of video with my iPhone," she told ReportingonHealth.

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Dr. Lipson writes his own blog called White Coat Underground, contributes and helps edit at Science-Based Medicine, and contributes to The Science Business Blog at Forbes.com where this piece originally appeared.

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When the FDA seized 77 ozone generators from Applied Ozone Systems in Auburn, California recently, it was a reminder to health writers to ask tough questions about unproven medical techniques being touted as miracle cures.

Here are five musts for stories about ozone therapy and similar treatments.

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Scott Reuben, a Massachusetts anesthesiologist, had landed a job as the chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. He also had published dozens of papers in academic journals touting the benefits of painkillers made by drug giants Pfizer and Merck.

Picture of William Heisel

The FDA has been cracking down on companies claiming they can cure deadly diseases with unproven technologies, reminding health writers everywhere to be skeptical of the latest fads in alternative medicine.

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Freelance journalist Martha Rosenberg recently made an interesting comparison between embattled drug giant Wyeth and former insurance giant AIG. The latter famously handed out massive bonuses and planned lavish company retreats at a time when the company was receiving billions in federal bailout funds.

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Putting together a scientific research paper should be a different process than building a Ford Taurus or making a Big Mac.

For the drug companies and their ghostwriting partners, it isn’t.

Picture of Kathleen Sharp

Blogs, twitters and daily print help keep us abreast of breaking news. But there's nothing like an old-fashioned book to get inside a big sweeping tale. In the summer of 2007, when I was a fellow here, I had little more than a vision for a book that explored Big Pharma. Well, I also had some solid sources, a blockbuster drug, and a dramatic plot that spanned some 20 years. The hard part was finding a place to adequately tell the tale.

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