Dec 20, 2017

How media reporting can prompt health scares

A 7.30 story on long-acting contraceptives influenced women to cancel their implants -- an example of the media's influence on people's health decisions.

Emily Watkins — Media reporter

Emily Watkins

Media reporter

When the ABC's 7.30 program ran a story about some pretty awful side effects from long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), a number of women immediately cancelled their appointments to have devices implanted in the following days.

In 7.30's story, two women described their painful side effects and trouble in getting doctors to remove the devices, while an expert commented on the influence of big pharma on prescribing drugs to patients, with reporter Sophie Scott introducing the idea by saying, "There are concerns the medical fraternity is too eager to prescribe the devices because drug companies are spending up big on promotions." One comment was included towards the end by Dr Amber Moore from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who said the devices were safe as a contraceptive, and reversible. 

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