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October 17, 1990

Informing Physicians About Promising New Treatments for Severe Disease-Reply

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles Times
University of California San Francisco

Los Angeles Times
University of California San Francisco

JAMA. 1990;264(15):1948. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450150045024

In Reply.—  Dr Hertzman, Ms Cairns, and Ms Lowe highlight the importance of providing physicians with timely and complete information about newly recognized diseases, such as the tryptophan—associated eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome.Dr Harnes raises a number of points that, while interesting for discussion, are beyond the scope of our article. In general, reporters, regardless of whether they are trained as physicians, should seek to provide accurate, fair, and comprehensive coverage of medical news. Many reporters who specialize in medical coverage routinely include in their articles the types of information that Dr Harnes suggests. As our article pointed out, press releases frequently are flawed and inadequate sources of medical information. Such news releases should be accompanied by sufficient scientific information, preferably a complete scientific report, to allow both physicians and nonphysicians to make informed judgments about the findings.Two recent developments related to the subject of our article may be of interest