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pharmaceutical industry

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A high-level painkiller probe, why the GOP is targeting Medicare in an election year, the military's massive free health clinic in Alabama and more from our Daily Briefing.

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Medical devices undeniably save and improve lives, but they can also malfunction or prove to be defective and pose serious risks for patients. So, as someone in the medical field, how do you stay up-to-date on medical device safety and recalls? The FDA does its best to keep doctors informed about medical device recalls, but communication from the FDA doesn’t always reach doctors soon enough.

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You can’t inoculate health care policy against the ills of politics. You can, however, evaluate the money-in-politics angle.

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A confluence of factors including an inflexible regulatory enviroment that discourages research and discovery, a paltry research pipeline for drugs for the most serious illnesses, and a tendency for physicians to unnecessarily prescribe antibiotics for routine aches and pains is largely responsible for the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, speakers at a major conference on infectious diseases this week announced.

Picture of William Heisel

Even under serious deadline pressure, you can build a solid health story without cribbing from a news release. Here’s my 55-minute solution.

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Never write a story about a health-related treatment without talking about costs. I wish health reporters would stitch that onto their pillows so they could see it every morning when they wake up.

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Journalists from big name organizations better move over. The notebook or microphone next to you at medical conferences is now likely to be in the hand of someone living with the diagnosis being discussed.

Picture of William Heisel

If the consequences for pharma-sponsored ghostwriting are steep – lawsuits, public embarrassment, retractions – the temptations are also very real. A former ghostwriter weighs in and offers some solutions. 

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In these tough economic times, it might seem crazy to turn down a paycheck. But what if that paycheck has complicated strings attached?


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The controversy sparks questions about corporate influence and the new ways we fund journalism.



The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors to serve as thought leaders in one of the most innovative and rewarding arenas in journalism today – “engaged reporting” that puts the community at the center of the reporting process. Learn more about the positions and apply to join our team.

Nowhere was the massive COVID wave of winter 2021 more devastating than in America’s nursing homes, where 71,000 residents died in the surge. In this webinar, we’ll hear from the lead reporter in the USA Today series "Dying for Care," who will show how an original data analysis and an exhaustive reporting effort revealed a pattern of unnecessary deaths that compounded the pandemic’s brutal toll. Sign-up here!


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