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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 16146

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Jureidini J, Clothier R.
Elsevier should divest itself of either its medical publishing or pharmaceutical services division
Lancet 2009 Aug 1; 374:(9687): 375
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)61404-5/fulltext


Abstract:

Elsevier, publisher of The Lancet , is reviewing its publishing practice after court disclosure that it colluded with Merck to produce a fake journal, the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine (AJBJM) to promote rofecoxib and other Merck products. Elsevier has called the incident an “isolated practice led by former employees in a local pharmaceutical services division”. 1 This statement refers to the publication in Australia of nine fake journals, and the registration of another 13. Although …

 

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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963