The Vioxx case in the Federal Court in Melbourne continues to produce a stream of interesting and illuminating revelations although I had to chuckle at one specialist’s efforts to downplay his profession’s skills in marketing. “I would have thought getting medical practitioners to be marketers would have been the death knell of a product because doctors are not very good at marketing,” he said.

Sounds like a case of excessive modesty – even a quick scan of the Crikey Register of Influence shows that many medicos are very willing and able when it comes to marketing. Looking at the bigger picture, there’s a strong argument that modern medicine has done such a good job of marketing itself that we as a society are now paying far more than we ought to be for many treatments and procedures whose benefits have been oversold.

But I digress. The point of this post is to alert you to an interesting story at this science blog. Someone enterprising there has done some digging post the Federal Court revelations about  industry-funding of journals.

The story begins: “Scientific publishing giant Elsevier put out a total of six publications between 2000 and 2005 that were sponsored by unnamed pharmaceutical companies and looked like peer reviewed medical journals, but did not disclose sponsorship, the company has admitted. Elsevier is conducting an “internal review” of its publishing practices after allegations came to light that the company produced a pharmaceutical company-funded publication in the early 2000s without disclosing that the “journal” was corporate sponsored”.”

It’s definitely worth reading the entire post, and there are quite a few interesting comments as well. The credibility of scientific publishing has taken a hit.

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