ABC and CBS Give No Credit to Novartis
Both ABC and CBS evening news programs praised a new drug that could save lives threatened by osteoporosis. But they didnât say what company spent years and millions of dollars developing it.
ABC âWorld Newsâ anchor Charles Gibson called it âpromising news.â
âCBS Evening Newsâ anchor Katie Couric agreed, saying the new drug âmay be just what the doctor orderedâ for the 10 million Americans living with the disease.
The wonder drug hailed by both âEvening Newsâ and âWorld News with Charles Gibsonâ on May 2 is zoledronic acid.
Novartis should have been given credit for the innovative new drug, since it likely cost them millions in research and development costs. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America estimates the cost of an approved new drug to be more than $800 million.
Zoledronic acid differs from other osteoporosis medications because it can be injected through an IV in about 15 minutes, and only has to be given once a year.
Both broadcasts cited a study of postmenopausal women that resulted in a 70-percent decline in spine fractures and a 41-percent decline in hip fractures.
âExperts say reducing fractures can save lives,â said âEvening Newsâ medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.
The study did find an irregular heartbeat to be a potential side effect, which both programs reported.
Ignoring pharmaceutical companies and development costs is common in media coverage of the industry. In fact, between Jan. 1 and Sept. 20, 2006, only 22 percent of network stories named the company that developed the drug in question and only 2 percent of stories included cost, according to a Business & Media Institute study.