Friday, May 1, 2009

Questionable Marketing to Doctors

It is a sad day for me to learn of this action of the pharmaceutical giant Merck. Of all the pharmaceutical companies I have dealt with, I have always respected Merck for their integrity and responsibility. Over the years, as I watch the merging and buying over of various other pharmaceutic companies, I have noticed a declining standards of ethics and morality especially in their marketing departments. Over the last couple of years I noticed a declining standard in Merck. This report from The Scientist reveals the extent of the rot.

Merck published fake journal
Posted by Bob Grant
[Entry posted at 30th April 2009 04:27 PM GMT] in The website

Merck paid an undisclosed sum to Elsevier to produce several volumes of a publication that had the look of a peer-reviewed medical journal, but contained only reprinted or summarized articles--most of which presented data favorable to Merck products--that appeared to act solely as marketing tools with no disclosure of company sponsorship.

Image: flicker/meviola
"I've seen no shortage of creativity emanating from the marketing departments of drug companies," Peter Lurie, deputy director of the public health research group at the consumer advocacy nonprofit Public Citizen, said, after reviewing two issues of the publication obtained by The Scientist. "But even for someone as jaded as me, this is a new wrinkle."

The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, which was published by Exerpta Medica, a division of scientific publishing juggernaut Elsevier, is not indexed in the MEDLINE database, and has no website (not even a defunct one). The Scientist obtained two issues of the journal: Volume 2, Issues 1 and 2, both dated 2003. The issues contained little in the way of advertisements apart from ads for Fosamax, a Merck drug for osteoporosis, and Vioxx. (Click here and here to view PDFs of the two issues.)

read more

Dr Summer Johnson writing in comments

What's wrong with this is so obvious it doesn't have to be argued for. What's sad is that I'm sure many a primary care physician was given literature from Merck that said, "As published in Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, Fosamax outperforms all other medications...." Said doctor, or even the average researcher wouldn't know that the journal is bogus. In fact, knowing that the journal is published by Elsevier gives it credibility! Read more

This is one of the danger of pharmaceutical companies becoming bigger and bigger. Somehow the growth is not proportional to the growth of ethics in these companies and not consistent with the sense of morality of their original founders.


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