Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Globe and Mail Public Editor Sylvia Stead.

The Globe and Mail

Last week, The Globe and Mail ran a feature in the Life section in a series called "It Happened to Me." It was an interview with comedian Cathy Jones about experiencing the symptoms of vaginal atrophy.

The story included an interview with Dr. Vivien Brown, an assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto and president of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada. It did not reference any medication by name, although Dr. Brown did discuss various hormonal and non-hormonal treatments.

CBC medical sciences reporter Kelly Crowe has been looking into the public relations campaign to get women talking about vaginal atrophy, and asked the Globe reporter if she knew whether Ms. Jones and Dr. Brown were paid.

Story continues below advertisement

The reporter was not aware and once the issue was raised, she called the public relations firm that suggested Ms. Jones and Dr. Brown for an interview and has updated the story to say that both women were paid by Novo Nordisk Canada to speak about vaginal atrophy as part of a media campaign.

That is good, but it raises also the question of transparency.

The PR firm that suggested the two women for the interview did not say what company it was working for. This should have been stated, but Globe staff should also have asked who the firm was working for. During the interview process, the reporter found out that a pharmaceutical company was involved in the campaign.

And although the company's product was not mentioned in the article, I think that should have been a moment to stop and consider whether it was worth continuing with the article. Perhaps the medical issue is important enough to warrant a story even though a pharmaceutical company was pushing to raise the awareness and likely demand for its product.

If so, it might have been helpful to contact a doctor not involved in the campaign for an independent view. Or the decision might have been to not publish.

In any case, the article as originally published was not transparent and open with the readers.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies