Winner: Dr Elizabeth Finkel, 'A Statin a Day', Cosmos Magazine

Battle of the experts: inside the statin war

Male and over 50? Take statins to stave off heart attacks and strokes, say health authorities in the UK and US. When the ABC’s Catalyst program challenged this advice sparks flew.

The program triggered such a backlash from the medical community, and even from other ABC journalists, that it was eventually pulled from the ABC website.

Dr Elizabeth Finkel, writing for Cosmos magazine, boldly explored the controversy – looking at the experts on both sides of the conversation. Adjudicating between the camps was a major journalistic challenge.

For her article ‘A Statin a Day’ in Cosmos magazine, Elizabeth has been awarded the Department of Industry and Science Eureka Prize for Science Journalism.

“Dr Elizabeth Finkel has explored the issue of statin medication with great objectivity abd has presented the story in a balanced and fair way,” Kim McKay AO, Executive Director and CEO of the Australian Museum said.

Established in 1827, the Australian Museum is the nation’s first museum and one of its foremost scientific research, educational and cultural institutions. The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the most comprehensive national science awards, honouring excellence in Research and Innovation, Leadership, Science Communication andJournalism, and School Science.

The other finalists were:

  • Roslyn Lawrence, Geraldine McKenna, Dr Graham Phillips, Vaughan Smith, Ingrid Arnott and Matt Scully (ABC) who created the Catalyst program Gut Reaction, studying the link between diet, gut bacteria and diseases as diverse as asthma, depression and multiple sclerosis.
  • Sally Ingleton and Tosca Looby (360 Degree Films) whose film The Great Australian Fly looked at the contribution this much-maligned insect has made to Australian culture, inspiring the creation of an entire pesticide industry and driving scientists to distraction.

Watch the video.