an award for investigative blogging in health


It’s hard to find blogs that are well written and interesting.  And it’s easy to find blogs that try to throw dirt at the establishment.

But blogs that are well written, based off solid sources, and actually finding things that drug companies would rather us not know?  They’re a rare species.

The 15 blogs that follow win our Investigative Blog in Healthcare Award – the Health Muckraker Award – for their excellence in uncovering issues in HealthCare.

1) Neuroskeptic

Neuroskeptic looks at important issues in neurological medicine and analyzes them thoroughly and skeptically.  This blog’s level-headedness combined with its sharp analyses and points make it a winner for investigative blogging, and place it at number one on this list.

Make sure to check out his fascinating article on Neurogenesis and Antidepressants.

2) Before You Take That Pill

Doug Bremmer is a doctor taking a stand against the market power of big pharma.  His blog analyzes medical fiascoes and controversies with wit and depth.  He is an authority in his field and it shows; you can clearly tell that he knows what he’s talking about.

Make sure to see his recent article on ghost-writing in medical research.

3) Furious Seasons

Philip Dawdy has dug up tons of dirt that makers of psychological drugs don’t want you to know and have simply tried to repress.  From analyzing abuse of Seroquel to discussing the downsides of antidepressants, he’s helped patients understand much better the risks of the meds they’re taking.

His work is helping expose things that we have a right to know.

Make sure to see his famous compilation of the Zyprexa documents.

4) Scientific Misconduct Blog

Another doctor blogging about the darker side of medicine.  This blog is marked by a higher intellectual tone and careful analysis/arguments.  Dr. Blumsohn makes sure to look at issues that are important to doctor behavior and catches issues that people not so involved with the field might miss.

Importantly, he doesn’t attack harder than he has to, and he’s willing to post in defense of the good stuff, like vaccines.

Make sure to see his post on the anti-vaccine meme.

5) Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look

Sharp, sharp posts attacking the many problems in psychological medications.  Powerful criticism with occasional big picture posts.  Some important issues raised by the blog include antidepressant efficacy and excessive marketing.

Make sure to see the posts on Abilify.

6) Hooked: Ethics, Medicine, and Pharma

Dr. Brody focuses on pharmaceutical issues and develop.  He is very analytical and likes looking at issues in depth and bouncing ideas off his readers.  While incisive and sharp, his analysis tends to be slower and less “headline”-y than some of the others.  Which doesn’t make them less useful; their impact just takes a little longer.

Make sure to see his analyses of antidepressants.

7) The Carlat Psychiatry Blog

Dr. Carlat’s blog has won some impressive awards – and for good reason. His articles are excellently written. They’re in depth, sarcastic at times, and digging up stories for the general public to see what’s going on.

Check out the blog. Almost any post from it is worth a read.

8) Alison Bass

This blog isn’t popular enough. It’s well written, comprehensive, and makes an impact with strong arguments and discussions. Allison covers the crucial problems facing medicine today like overprescribing and lack of safety information for many popular drugs.

Make see to see her article on conflicts of interest in statin research.

9) Chemical

Chemical imbalance is another blog focused on the controversies around psychiatric medications.  They are specifically aimed at analyzing the chemical imbalance theory of depression and mental illness as well as a general goal of looking at the problems of psychology.

They take pride in presenting balanced posts.

Make sure to see their analyses of problems with clinical publishing.

10) Medical Consumerism

An excellent blog produced by multiple authors from the University of Minnesota.  Very high quality writing that overviews other sources and a wide variety of interesting topics important to health care and medicine.  It isn’t dedicated to exposes but manages to raise important and thought provoking questions.

Because it’s mostly analysis of other sources, we’ll skip the recommended post.  Just check the blog out!

11) Pharma Marketing

John Mack blogs about the marketing tactics of pharmaceutical companies and provides analysis of their ethics.  Key issues he focuses on include exploitation of consumers and selling benefits while downplaying costs.  He’s good enough at what he does to be quoted by the New York Times.

Make sure to see his article on whether disclosure is enough in medical publishing.

12) Eye on FDA

Mark Senak writes about many different issues in health care and has a healthy skepticism and quick wit. As the name implies, he’s mainly focused on evaluating FDA policy and their ethical and business implications. Important topics he covers include monitoring safety and the darker side of the decisions that the FDA makes.

Make sure to read his post on the transparency of the FDA blog.

13) The Health Media Watch

Christine is a teacher of ethics at NYU, and she combines her deep understanding of ethics with analysis of health news and policy. Hard hitting posts include calling out a lack of disclosure in funding of clinical studies and sloppy reporting on Parkinson’s disease.

Make sure to see her hilarious spoof post on drug advertising

14) Health Care Renewal

The many authors off this blog are dedicated to “addressing threats to health care’s core values.” They have an academic slant and take on very important issues like corruption, transparency, and un-reported dangers. They’ve been around for a while, and have done some great work.

Make sure to check out their recent coverage of the Pfizer $2.3 billion fine.

15) Mental Dimensions

I love this site.  It has some great articles and some wonderful analyses.  One of the bigger problems with it, is that it doesn’t post enough.  But when it does, it’s worth it.

Make sure to see it’s article on addiction and SSRIs.

If you found this article useful, I’m happy.  Thanks for reading!



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