PBS Ombudsman Criticizes Drug Company Sponsorship


PBS ombudsman Michael Getler says he doesn't think PBS should have accepted a sponsorship from drug company GlaxoSmithKline for an obesity special airing next month.

Glaxo just got FDA approval for a new diet drug and the Center for Digital Democracy's Jeff Chester, who wrote to complain, is concerned the entire show could be seen as a plug for the company.

On the PBS Web site, Getler in response says that "even though GlaxoSmithKline came in late and, under PBS policy, has no say in any of the content, this kind of possible conflict can undermine credibility and, without knowing the financial details, doesn't seem worth it."

PBS has defended the show, saying "the sponsor credit for GlaxoSmithKline is a corporate image spot and does not mention any drug product, including those used to treat obesity. FAT:  What No One is Telling You premieres April 11, 2007 on PBS."