The article appeared yesterday in the Wall Street Journal: "Study Shows Older Patients Benefiting From Defibrillators."
One would think a doctor might like to read the article, especially one dealing with defibrillators.
So I checked late last night and wouldn't you know, no such article was on-line. Then I checked again early this morning. Still no reference on line. I checked Google. I checked Circulation: Heart Failure's website. I checked for the press release on the American Heart Association's press release web page.
No such article.
But Reuters had seen it (I think) (or at least they saw the American Heart Association's press release about the article, I really don't know).
And so I waited and waited, only to find that the article was finally posted on-line publically on the Circulation: Heart Failure's website at about 12-1PM CST, almost a full 18 hours later the manuscript was reported upon by the main stream media.
The article certainly has plenty to comment upon, but I will forgo that for the moment and instead focus on this disturbing trend of media releases pitched to journalists before the scientific community.
Given that this study was funded by GlaxoSmith Kline and the journal Circulation: Heart Failure is published by the American Heart Association who acknowledges multimillion dollar funding from the pharmaceutical and medical device companies we have to wonder: why are physicians being left out of the opportunity to critically review scientific publications before mainstream media broadcasts information to our patients and the public? Might it be that the sponsors of these trials might not like what certain doctors might say about the study? Or are such press releases being more like classic TV ads hoping to prod patient's to "Ask Your Doctor" about study's findings? What potential implications might these press releases have on public policy mandating doctors to "Get With the Guidelines" for the treatment of heart failure going forward?
I find the feeding of jounalists these manuscripts before the very scientists who subscribe to the these journals troubling at best and potentially subversive and manipulative at worst.