The Daily’s article on Sanjay Gupta’s nomination for Surgeon General (Alum Gupta nominated for surgeon general post, 01/14/2009) leaves out his considerable negative features. For example, Gupta has very little background in public health, preventive medicine or administration. He has also openly opposed progressive health reform, going so far as to cite false information to denigrate single payer health care (e.g. in his error-laden attack on Michael Moore’s film Sicko) and repeating the health insurance lobby’s distortions of single payer health care. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary at the time, he publicly downplayed concerns about the dangers of Vioxx, which killed thousands of people and was removed from the market a year later by its manufacturer, Merck.
As a media figure, he has been disturbingly cozy with the pharmaceutical industry. He co-hosts Turner Private Networks’ monthly show “Accent Health,” which airs in doctors’ offices around the country as a major conduit for targeted ads from the drug companies. In the 2008 election campaign, his reporting on John McCain’s health proposals was misleading and implicitly positive, giving undeserved credence to McCain’s claims that buying private health insurance on the open market is a financially viable option for most Americans.
School of Public Health graduate student