A free colonoscopy contest, but what’s the catch?

CBS is promoting a free colonoscopy sweepstakes, which, I guess, is enough of a prize to pique a person’s interest during the recession.

But, as Dr. Wes points out, there are serious issues with the contest. First, take a look at the extensive fine print, with not-so-subtly warns that any information given will be shared with advertisers third-parties.

He also wonders about the posh Center for Specialty Care in New York City, which will perform the procedure. Surely, they stand to benefit from both the publicity, as well as obtaining the information of entrants for future mailings.

Finally, the contest is open to adults aged 40-79, when in fact, colon cancer screening guidelines specifically recommend colonoscopies be performed in those 50 years and older.

Free health care seems like a catchy prize for a contest, but it is really worth it when it blatantly flaunts HIPAA privacy rules as well as established, evidence-based screening guidelines?

In other words, “Does this campaign really have the patient’s best interests at heart,” asks Dr. Wes, “or is this really about driving more business to gastroenterologists? Finally, if cancer is found on the screening and the patient is uninsured, who will assume responsibility for ongoing treatment of the patient?”

Good questions indeed.

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