KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Oops! Sorry About the Fake Science

Hear about the recent uproar in the STM (scientific, technical, and medical) publishing community over the faux medical journal Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine commissioned by giant pharmaceutical Merck? Merck paid the Australian division of Elsevier to publish eight compilations of scientific articles in a format that looked like a peer-reviewed journal. The New York Times reported:
... The Merck-sponsored publication is among the evidence in the Australian trial in which the lead plaintiff in a class action suit alleges, among other things, that the company used misleading and deceptive marketing strategies in promoting Vioxx.

Nine of 29 articles in the second issue of the journal referred positively to Vioxx, and an additional 12 articles referred positively to another Merck drug, Fosamax, a bone treatment, Mr. Donovan said. ... [Donovan is an expert witness for the plaintiff.]

Elsevier issued a press release today saying that it is working on new guidelines for custom publications that it produces for pharmaceutical companies, so that they will be clearly identified as not being peer-reviewed medical journals.

So Merck's on trial. Will Elsevier ever be, for making money off a drug that it must have known has been reported to have killed people? I say they'll probably both get off scot-free. Once again, the consumer will pay.


Maggie Lyons said...

Good blogging! This is one of the few such incidences of chicanery in the drug industry that come to public light. The US drug industry is out of control and has been for a long time. Only when people realize they don't have to resort to drugs for chronic conditions that a healthy regimen will cure will they be less vulnerable to the greed and lies of the drug industry.

libhom said...

There is so much corporate corruption. Thanks for exposing people to some of it.

rarchimedes said...

Ms. Lyons,

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you truly believe what you have said here, you are a menace to those you would advise. If you just don't like drug companies, you won't find too many to disagree with you, but many millions of people would not be alive today without long term treatment with various drugs, some as simple as aspirin. And, yes, I know that aspirin can be gotten, sort of, from natural sources, but there are dozens of others. Certainly, lifestyle changes would improve the health of almost anyone, but they will not resolve anywhere close to all situations. Science does serve a purpose, even when it is misused. Those ignore or misunderstand science fall into fallacies such as homeopathy, the greatest single example of the placebo effect that I know of. I see nothing in this blog that would support a view such as yours, though the lady may be too polite to say so. Extremes serve no person nor the health of any community.

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