Celebrity Triggers Tumult Over Psychiatric Care: Did the News Media Make Things Worse? by Michael Jonathan Grinfeld When Tom Cruise accused Brooke Shields of being irresponsible by taking antidepressants after the birth of her baby, psychiatry was momentarily thrust into the spotlight. How did journalists and scientists handle the situation, and how can they do better in the future?
When The New York Times decided to run a story in July about refractory depression, the article was entitled "Some Still Despair in a Prozac Nation." Even after a decade on the market, and despite the availability of a host of competing drugs, the headline exemplifies the extent to which Eli Lilly and Company's popular antidepressant remains a pop culture icon. So when the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical manufacturer launched a 30-minute program that featured Prozac (fluoxetine) in May-it avoids using the term infomercial-the cutting edge direct-to-consumer (DTC) ad naturally raised questions and a few eyebrows as the company sought to gain even wider exposure for the drug.
America's pop culture can send a dizzying blur of mixed signals. On the one hand, its massive restaurant and food industries serve up an abundance of calorie laden, often unhealthy processed meals that have turned Americans into the most overweight people in the world.