Skip to main content.

William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

William Heisel, former investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, writes about investigative health reporting. He is currently the director of global engagement at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Picture of William Heisel

My former colleague at the Los Angeles Times, Myron Levin, played an important role in unearthing new information about cell phone use and car accidents.

Picture of William Heisel

Medical malpractice cases can live or die on the testimony of an expert witness. Defense
attorneys will go after the expert's credentials with every tool in their kit.

One would think that plaintiff's attorneys suing the federal government on behalf of a
patient would make sure they had a doctor with impeccable experience ready to take the stand and bolster the patient's case.

Instead, they hired Dr. Alex T. Zakharia.

Picture of William Heisel

Johnson & Johnson — maker of tearless baby shampoo and sugarless sugar — has devised another innovation: the time-traveling scientist.

This may sound astonishing, true believers, but read on!

Picture of William Heisel

Let's assume that Dr. Conrad Murray did not kill Michael Jackson.

Picture of William Heisel

What drives someone with a strong scientific reputation to cut a secret deal with a drug company for ghostwriting help just to have one more paper published?

Let's ask.

Picture of William Heisel

Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman has become the go-to source for comments on how drug companies have been using ghostwriters to inject marketing messages into the medical literature, a controversy that prompted powerful Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to send a letter on Aug. 11 to the National Institutes of Health asking, among other things, "What is the current NIH policy on ghostwriting with regards to NIH researchers?"

Picture of William Heisel

If DesignWrite, the medical communications firm that has been ghostwriting articles on behalf of drug giant Wyeth, were an elementary school student, it would have a stack of papers heavy with gold stars.

Dr. Gloria Bachmann, the associate dean for women's health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J., told the company it had written an "an A plus article" after it wrote a review article that Bachmann agreed to sign. The article appeared with hardly a word changed in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

Picture of William Heisel

In December, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to Mitchell A. Leon, the president of DesignWrite Inc., the company that has now become Exhibit A in the unfolding ghostwriting scandal that has medical journal editors everywhere combing through their submissions looking for fakes.

Picture of William Heisel

Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman is the principal investigator of PharmedOut, an educational campaign aimed at showing physicians how marketing influences their prescribing decisions. Originally funded by the Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant, PharmedOut, among other things, offers continuing medical education to doctors, allowing them to earn credits without taking courses funded by drug or device companies.

Pages

Announcements

The election of Donald Trump will usher in massive changes to the U.S. health care system. What will “repeal and replace” really look like? Will 20 million lose insurance coverage or will Republicans avert such a disaster? This webinar will discuss key ideas in Republican proposals, how health coverage might change, and what questions journalists should be asking as these dramatic changes unfold. Find more info here.

CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY

Member Activities

Samuel White Swan-Perkins has shared a fellowship project

Read it.

Anna Romano has shared a blog post

Read it.

Patricia Kime joined the community

Connect with Patricia Kime

Marissa Evans joined the community

Connect with Marissa Evans

Ally Noble joined the community

Connect with Ally Noble
More Member Activities

Follow Us

Facebook


Twitter

CHJ Icon
ReportingHealth