CBS Praises Wonder Drug, Leaves Out Who Makes It

May 3rd, 2007 4:21 PM

A “promising” new drug could save lives of people fighting osteoporosis, but neither ABC “World News with Charles Gibson,” nor CBS “Evening News” even mentioned the drug’s manufacturer - Novartis Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: NVS) - in May 2 broadcasts.

Zoledronic acid “may be just what the doctor ordered,” according to Katie Couric. The broadcasts cited a new study that found a 70-percent decline in spine fractures and a 41-percent decline in hip fractures among the patients studied.

“Experts say reducing fractures can save lives,” said “Evening News” medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.

While both programs showed plenty of love to the new wonder drug, there was no love for Novartis and no mention of the millions of dollars they spent developing the product which is marketed as Reclast and Zometa. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of American estimates the cost of an approved new drug to more than $800 million.

This lines up with previous Business & Media research that found only 22 percent of network stories named the drug company in question and only 2 percent of stories included cost.