Sometimes they just make it up

Unfortunately, in the lust for profits,  some pharma companies create very impressive but fraudulent publications to help market their products to physicians.  A current court case in Australian involving the Merck corporation has provided us with a clear case of this kind of skullduggery.

(the fake publication was published through Elsevier which is one of the premium publishers of scientific and medical information.  Why Elsevier would allow themselves to be used this way is astounding.)

Here are a couple of direct quotes from the article in Science:

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.

Here is a link to the Bioethic Blog report, the original story in The Scientist is only available by subscription:

“The Scientist has reported that, yes, it’s true, Merck cooked up a phony, but real sounding, peer reviewed journal and published favorably looking data for its products in them. Merck paid Elsevier to publish such a tome, which neither appears in MEDLINE or has a website, according to The Scientist…..”
“…..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!….”


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