Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

The Flu Frenzy: Are Drug Companies Are Spreading Hype On This Season's Influenza?

January 12, 2000
Story
WATCH FULL SHOW

This year’s flu season may seem to many of us as particularly harsh, judging by the media coverage of flooded hospitals, health officials’ warnings and interviews with afflicted individuals. But has it really been any worse than any other year?

A story in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal indicates that much of the media coverage on the flu may have been driven in large part by the aggressive promotional efforts of pharmaceutical companies that have launched new flu-fighting products into the market.

Two companies in particular, Roche Holding Inc. and Glaxco Welcome LC, are intensely marketing two flu medicines–Tamiflu and Relenza. Roche has inundated press rooms around the country with press releases about outbreaks of the flu in their area that differ only in their references to local-area doctors and hospitals.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, "in one of several publicity ploys this past weekend, a dozen grandmotherly actresses hired by Roche fanned out across street corners in Manhattan, handing out packets of freeze-dried chicken soup. The company’s message to curious passers-by: Grandma’s chicken soup may be good for symptoms of the flu, but now there is also a new drug, Tamiflu, that can disable the virus that causes the illness."

Guests:


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.