Dangers of Celebrity-Backed Health Tests

A January 11, 2006 article by Carolyn Susman describes the disproportionate effect that celebrities have on the allocation of science funding and health decision-making, noting ACSH's commentary on the matter:

Organizations such as the American Council on Science and Health -- itself a controversial group -- have pointed out the potential downside when famous people pitch a product or take sides.

ACSH questioned government funding for Rett Syndrome research -- it's a serious but rare disease -- which Julia Roberts had supported and spoken for in an appearance before Congress. Apparently Roberts' concern emerged because she knew someone with the disease, not because the drug companies or businesses involved with Rett research were paying her.

Still, ACSH's attack on the move to get Rett research money was interpreted not only as anti-consumer but as anti-Julia. (ACSH wanted limited government money to be allocated for scientific reasons, not because of celebrity lobbying.)