Fake Drug News Online, Without Risk Information

A consumer group filed a complaint against the medical device company Medtronic, because an online video promoting one of the company's products "did not make consumers aware of the risks, warnings, precautions or side effects" associated with the product. The video, which was posted to the YouTube website, was produced for Medtronic by the broadcast PR firm VNR-1 Communications. After a consumer group, Prescription Project, filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Medtronic pulled the video from YouTube. The group also called on the FDA "to take action against YouTube videos promoting medical devices from Abbott Laboratories ... and Michigan-based Stryker Corp." The Prescription Project's director said the videos "raise serious questions about whether drug and device companies are using the Internet to skirt laws that safeguard consumers." In related (fake) news, Richard Edelman blogged that ABC News Now producer Jessica Guff told him that PR people should offer TV newsrooms "fully formed four minute segments, with visuals, spokespeople and news hook all conceived." She explained, "Don't just send me a pitch letter or a book which requires me to put together the piece," because "we are short staffed."


The [http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-081203abbott-youtube,0,1919085.story Chicago Tribune] reports that Abbott Laboratories "will embed safety information about its Xience heart device into a YouTube video spot. ... Abbott said the videos are linked to safety information, but a spokesman said the company was in the process of embedding the information into the videos. Abbott said it had done nothing wrong."