GIJN's Health and Medicine Guide
Table of Contents


Investigating Health & Medicine

Illustrations: Marcelle Louw

In this era of the pandemic, journalists worldwide suddenly find themselves on the health beat, trying to make sense of competing claims, varied specialists, and a science that seems to change by the day. Here’s an antidote: a comprehensive, global guide to investigative reporting on health and medicine. Written by two of the best in our business, Catherine Riva and Serena Tinari take you from COVID-19 to drug development and approval, evaluating scientific studies, understanding conflicts of interest, and exposing fraud and malpractice. It’s a road map for going beyond the claims of corporate press releases and government officials. Have a comment? Let us know what you think here. And good digging.


Table of Contents

Preface: COVID-19


Chapter 1: Regulating Drugs: Development & Approval

Tip 1: Dig Deeper into Development and Approval
Tip 2: Search for Red Flags
Tip 3: Get Unpublished Data

Chapter 2: A Study Is Not Just a Study. Get Your Numbers Straight

Tip 1: Stick to Evidence-Based Medicine and Use PICO
Tip 2: A Study Is Not Just a Study
Tip 3: Absolute Values and Natural Frequencies
Tip 4: Be Aware of Flaws. And Read the Paper

Chapter 3: The Scientific Basis of Influence

Tip 1: You Are Being Influenced
Tip 2: Beware of Key Opinion Leaders
Tip 3: Conflicts of Interests in Health Journalism
Tip 4: Connect the Dots

Chapter 4: First, Do No Harm. Reporting About Safety

Tip 1: Assess the Evidence
Tip 2: Retrieve Data and Talk to the Victims
Tip 3: Expose Fraud, Scientific Misconduct, and Medical Malpractice

Chapter 5: Tips on Traps, Hype & Ethics


Glossary of Terms
Regulatory Agencies

About the Authors








The Global Investigative Journalism Network serves as the international association for the world’s investigative reporters, with 203 member groups in 80 countries. GIJN provides training, resources, and networks, with a core mission to strengthen investigative and data journalism worldwide. Reach GIJN through its website or write us at