[ASC-list] Statement from the ABC regarding the Catalyst program on statins

Jacinta Legg jacintalegg at gmail.com
Fri May 23 05:44:26 UTC 2014

 My apologies if this has already been shared with the ASC community (I've
only just caught up on my emails).

The ABC released a statement regarding the Catalyst program on statins and
heart disease (see below). And the Heart Foundation has responded to this
(see below also).


12th May 2014
Statement from ABC Managing Director on Catalyst ruling

Today, the ABC’s independent Audience and Consumer Affairs Unit has
released its findings regarding a controversial *Catalyst* program on
statins and heart disease.

The detailed investigation was prompted by a number of complaints into two
*Catalyst* programs, collectively titled Heart* Of The Matter*, aired in
October last year. The report of the investigation is available

While acknowledging the importance of public health issues relating to the
efficacy of heart disease treatment and the contrasting opinions of
highly-qualified scientists, the A&CA has concluded that the second episode
breaches ABC standards on impartiality.

Because of the interlocked nature of the two programs, both will be removed
from the ABC website. Information will be added to the program website and
the ABC Corrections page <http://www.abc.net.au/corrections/> to advise of
the steps that have been taken.

Additionally, the *PM *program has added an Editor’s Note to the transcript
of its story ‘*Backlash against ABC’s Catalyst program questioning heart
disease-cholesterol links’*, and an appropriate entry has been made on the
ABC Corrections page. The note on the Catalyst website will also reinforce
the advice made in the second *Catalyst* program, that viewers should not
make any changes to their prescribed regimen of medications without seeking
appropriate medical advice.

As the A&CA report shows, this has been a thorough investigation involving
complex issues and a wide range of material.

The Catalyst programs were very engaging, attracted large audiences and
clearly touched on an issue of importance to many Australians. The link
between statins and heart disease is a matter warranting investigation and
coverage on our programs. The issue has been extensively covered overseas
and continues to be the subject of debate within medical circles. I would
like to see our science programs on radio and TV work together to revisit
it, whilst taking absolute care to comply with our rigorous editorial
*- Mark Scott.*For more information

Media contact:
Nick Leys 03 9626 1417
leys.nick at abc.net.au

Monday 12 May 2014

*Statement following ABC investigation into ABC Catalyst program  *

The National Heart Foundation of Australia has welcomed the findings from
ABC’s independent Audience and Consumer Affairs Unit which found the ABC
*Catalyst* program *Heart Of The Matter* breached ABC standards on
impartiality and would be removed from it’s website.

The detailed report into the two-part series which aired in October last
year can be found here:

The Heart Foundation’s National CEO, Mary Barry said she was pleased to see
the ABC had conducted an investigation.

“The Heart Foundation was one of the many organisations and individuals who
raised serious concerns about the information presented in the *ABC
Catalyst: Heart of the Matter* program and we are very pleased the ABC has
heard our concerns and is taking steps to correct the unbalanced and biased
reporting,” Ms Barry said.

“We know from our own research that an alarming number of people with high
cholesterol stopped or changed their cholesterol medication as a direct
result of the program, many without consulting a health professional.

“ABC Catalyst dismissed the vast body of evidence that exists to support
the link between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease and the role
of statins - evidence supported by a large number of national and
international organisations - and glossed over the fact that statins are
proven to be life saving for people who have heart disease or have had a
heart attack or stroke.

“We hope the ABC’s action helps to address the public confusion caused by
the program.”

*– ends –*

*Media contact:* Rachael Cassidy, National Media and Communications
Manager, 0478 483 777

*Note:* See media statement from ABC Managing Director on Catalyst ruling
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