Improving the Accuracy of Medical News Reporting
Media Doctor Canada








"New drug battles disease that causes sudden blindness: Each shot $1,000"

The Province

The Province

02 Sep 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (1½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Catherine Howe was driving home three years ago when a ball of white light exploded in her field of vision.
Alone and almost completely blind, she made her way back to her Richmond apartment, inching her car slowly along the city streets.
"It was like I'd been hit by a train, head-on . . . the light was so bright," said Howe, 76. "I woke up the next morning with a big black blob in front of my left eye."
Today, thanks to a revolutionary new drug injected into her eye, Howe has nearly perfect vision.

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This is a disappointing story that reads like an advertisement for Macugen, a newly approved treatment for age-related macular degeneration. While the story is clean on some important details, such as the availability, and cost of the new treatment, it fails to give any detail on the evidence upon which the drug's approval would have been based. There is therefore no sense from this article as to the magnitude of benefits of the treatment, how it may compare to alternatives, or what may be the key side effects or possible harms associated with a treatment that needs to be injected directly into your eye. . A quick Google search revealed that Macugen (the story does not provide the generic name for the treatment which is pegaptanib sodium injection) is associated with retinal detachment and 'iatrogenic traumatic cataracts' neither of which, even if rare, sound like much fun. There is an obvious connection between this story and the press release issued by the manufacturer two days before the story appeared, so in terms of reliance on the press release or securing any outside corroborating opinion as to the benefits of this treatment, the story scores Not Satisfactory on both counts. Even a quick perusal of the literature with PubMed or Google Scholar would have revealed to the journalist who put this story together that there is more to this treatment than meets the eye. Journalists have to keep a better eye out for important detail, if they are to fulfill their duty to balanced and coherent coverage of new treatments.

public forum

(22 Dec 2021) Lois Stencel writes,

"I would like to know the study results of the injected HUMIRA drug for RA.

Thank you"

Media Doctor response,

"We are only concerning ourselves with media reports of drugs or other treatments. If you can point to any particular stories that have appeared on this drug, I'd be happy to see if they fit our review criteria.
Alan Cassels"

Thanks to the following:
Apple Tree Dental For Kids
Moto Kave, e-scooters London Ontario
Green Collar Pool Companies Ancaster Ontario
Your Next Journey, Psychotherapist, Social Worker, Eating Disorder and Trauma Therapy

voice your opinion in the forum

  • All comments and feedback submitted to Media Doctor are subject to editorial approval before being made viewable by the public. It may take up to a week for your comments to be approved. Additionally, no response will be given to questions posed in public comments. Media Doctor does not provide medical advice, or answers to medical questions posed by the public.
  • If you provide your email address it will not be displayed to the general public.
  • Comments may be edited by Media Doctor to remove defamatory or sensitive statements, and brand names.
  • Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).
Name: *
Comments: *