Deborah Cohen wins HealthWatch prize

By September 11, 2017Public

HealthWatch winner: MJA member and BMJ investsigations editor Deborah Cohen

BMJ investigations editor and MJA member Deborah Cohen has won this year’s HealthWatch award.

The prize is given ‘to someone who has made significant steps either in medical research or in improving the public’s understanding of health issues by clarifying complicated and often misunderstood medical matters for the general public”.

Deborah has written about drug and medical device regulation, access to clinical data, cost of medicines, research integrity and conflicts of interest, as well as collaborating on documentaries with the BBC Panorama and Newsnight, Channel 4 News and Dispatches. Her recent BBC Panorama investigation, Inside Britain’s Fertility Business, exposed private fertility clinics selling costly “add-on” drugs, tests and treatments of questionable efficacy.

This is the 25th year the award has been made, and Deborah joins a roll of honour of previous MJA members, including the very first winner, writer and broadcaster Geoff Watts.

In the intervening years, the award has been presented to many scientists, among them Richard Doll, David Sackett, Edzard Ernst, Peter Goetzsche; and clinicians, including breast surgeon Michael Baum, whistleblowing cardiologist Peter Wilmshurst, and Iain Chalmers for his significant contribution to evidence based medicine.

Previous winners from the world of media and journalism include  the late John Diamond and Claire Rayner; as well as Simon Singh,  the BMJ’s Fiona Godlee and Richard Smith.

The full list of past winners with many of their presentations can be found at

The presentation, hosted by Nick Ross, takes place at the HealthWatch AGM evening at the Medical Society of London on October 17, and MJA members are invited to attend. The meeting, which includes a 20-minutes presentation from Deborah, is free, but if you would like to stay for the optional buffet supper there is a charge of £45 and you will need to RSVP to confirm your place.

Agenda for the evening:
18:00 Drinks reception.
18:30 Annual General meeting of HealthWatch (journalists and non-members are welcome to attend, but only members of HealthWatch may vote)
18:50 Presentation of awards to the winners of the 2017 Student Prize competition for critical analysis of clinical research protocols
19:00 Presentation of the 2017 HealthWatch Award to Deborah Cohen (see above).
20:00 Optional buffet dinner (£45.00 per person). To be pre-ordered at

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