Jeanne Lenzer is an independent investigative journalist, former associate editor and frequent contributor to The BMJ, and the author of The Danger Within Us: America’s Untested, Unregulated Medical Device Industry and One Man’s Battle to Survive It. She also worked as a senior clinical policy analyst for a large healthcare organization in New York. Her work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Discover, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Mother Jones, Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, USA Today, Newsweek Japan, and many other outlets.
Disclosure: She has received speaker’s fees and travel expenses from academic and professional physician groups and journalism groups. She does not accept pay or gratuities from drug or device makers, health insurance companies, or attorneys. She does not have any known investments in pharma or device makers, or insurers, but does have a small retirement fund through TIAA-CREF, a fund for academics and teachers.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer for the underdog
Q: Who is/was your role model?
Originally it was Clarence Darrow (think Scopes Monkey Trial) but over time I’ve added an amalgamation of many people who ‘fight the good fight’ (and that’s a long list) to allow others to have adequate shelter, food, healthcare, education and respect.
Q: If someone asked you to suggest a book to read, what would you recommend?
Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine and Jane Mayer’s Dark Money, and of course, Shannon Brownlee’s Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.
Q: What do you like to do in your down time?
Play ball! Handball, racquetball, paddleball – I love chasing balls. And chess, which I play very badly but never tire of losing.
Q: What is your favourite cuisine?
All of them (really).
Q: What are three things you would change in medicine?
In the US we desperately need a national healthcare system and for my money, I’d prefer single payer; I’d also insist on publicly funded research, which is now almost entirely dominated by industry. I’d roll back the anti-science agenda in the US, which – incredibly enough – allows case reports and observational data to trump randomized controlled trials – indeed, CDC director, Tom Frieden excluded a Cochrane analysis from the CDC review because it “only” used RCTs. Don’t believe it? See: Lenzer J. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: protecting the private good? BMJ. 2015-05-15 10:16:18, 2015;350. http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h2362.full.pdf+html
Selected publications (for full cv and more publications see: www.jeannelenzer.com )
- Lenzer J. When the Cure Is the Cause: The Case of the Green Hairy Tongue. Undark. Cambridge, MA: 2017. https://undark.org/article/wilo-lenzer-danger-within-us/.
- Lenzer J. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: protecting the private good? BMJ. 2015-05-15 10:16:18, 2015;350. http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h2362.
- Lenzer J. Why we can’t trust clinical guidelines. BMJ. 2013-06-19 10:17:59, 2013;346:f3830. http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3830.
- Lenzer J. Big data’s big bias: bringing noise and conflicts to US drug regulation. BMJ. July 18, 2017;358. http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/358/bmj.j3275.full.pdf.
- Lenzer J. When is a point of view a conflict of interest? BMJ. 2016;355. http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/355/bmj.i6194.full.pdf.
- Prasad V, Lenzer J, Newman DH. Why cancer screening has never been shown to “save lives”—and what we can do about it. BMJ. 2016-01-06 23:00:51, 2016;352. http://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.h6080.