Writing and Editing


This award winning investigation investigated why doctors in England’s NHS have been left seemingly unable to prescribe a cheap, safe, and effective drug despite its flourishing use elsewhere. It unearthed conflicts of interest in the NHS and medical charities; a lack of transparency by regulations; and a distortion of European law.

In the first of a two part investigation, Deborah used internal documents and US and EU regulatory documents obtained under freedom of information to find out what was known about the use of this oral anticoagulant. She found that the company had conducted analyses about how to make its use safer – but hadn’t shared these with global drug regulators. The story got international media coverage and led to regulatory action.

In a joint effort between The BMJ and The Telegraph, Deborah went undercover to see if if EU authorities would be prepared to allow a fake hip prosthesis with dangerous design flaws onto the market. The team created a fake dossier of scientific information and hawked it around organisations called notified bodies and found that some were prepared to put companies above patient safety.

Sports drinks are increasingly regarded as an essential adjunct for anyone doing exercise, but the evidence for this view is lacking.In a joint investigation, Deborah combined data with investigative journalism to explore the claims made by companies and the impact on hydration guidelines. Do people need to drink ahead of their thirst? And do sports drinks hydrate faster than water?

With concern over metal on metal hip implants mounting, Deborah examined the evidence of risk from metal-on-metal hip implants finding longstanding concerns over their use. Deborah used a combination of the US regulator’s devices database, internal documents and a review of the scientific literature in her approach. The story received international media coverage and led to changes in clinical guidance.