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Merck published fake journal

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/linkurl:meviola;http://www.flickr.com/photos/69659670@N00/ "I've seen no shortage of creativity emanating from the marketing departments of

By | April 30, 2009

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/linkurl:meviola;http://www.flickr.com/photos/69659670@N00/
"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 linkurl:here;http://images.the-scientist.com/pdfs/blogs/MSD0503540001.pdf and linkurl:here;http://images.the-scientist.com/pdfs/blogs/MSD0503540027.pdf to view PDFs of the two issues.) The claim that Merck had created a journal out of whole cloth to serve as a marketing tool was first reported by linkurl:__The Australian__;http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25311725-5013871,00.html about three weeks ago. It came to light in the context of a civil suit filed by Graeme Peterson, who suffered a heart attack in 2003 while on Vioxx, against Merck and its Australian subsidiary, Merck, Sharp & Dohme Australia (MSDA). In testimony provided at the trial last week, which was obtained by __The Scientist__, George Jelinek, an Australian physician and long-time member of the World Association of Medical Editors, reviewed four issues of the journal that were published from 2003-2004. An "average reader" (presumably a doctor) could easily mistake the publication for a "genuine" peer reviewed medical journal, he said in his testimony. "Only close inspection of the journals, along with knowledge of medical journals and publishing conventions, enabled me to determine that the Journal was not, in fact, a peer reviewed medical journal, but instead a marketing publication for MSD[A]." He also stated that four of the 21 articles featured in the first issue he reviewed referred to Fosamax. In the second issue, nine of the 29 articles related to Vioxx, and another 12 to Fosamax. All of these articles presented positive conclusions regarding the MSDA drugs. "I can understand why a pharmaceutical company would collect a number of research papers with results favourable to their products and make these available to doctors," Jelinek said at the trial. "This is straightforward marketing." Jelinek also pointed out several "review" articles that only cited one or two references. He described one of these articles as "simply a summary of an already published article," and noted that they were authored by "B&J Editorial." "It appears that 'B&J' (presumably __Bone and Joint__) refers to the Journal, and B&J editorial presumably to the publishers or owners as there is no editor of the journal," Jelinek said in his testimony. "This is a subtle attribution, and many readers may not realise that the paper was written by the owners or publishers of the journal, presuming that is who would write under the heading of 'editorial'." Lurie, in examining two of the issues for __The Scientist__, agreed that one particularly strange element of the __Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine__ is that it contains "review" articles that cite just one or two references. "I've never seen anything quite like this," he said. "Reviews are usually swimming in references." For example, one article on osteoporosis labeled above the title as a "meta-analysis" cites two references -- one itself a meta-analysis. "To the jaundiced eye, [the journal] might be detected for what it is: marketing," he said. "Many doctors would fail to identify that and might be influenced by what they read." Lurie noted that the __Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine__ is akin to other publishing strategies employed by drug companies; paying for supplements to existing journals or publishing compilations of original research articles that tend to lack scientific rigor (so-called linkurl:"throwaways").;http://www.ajronline.org/cgi/reprint/155/4/889.pdf "It's kissing cousin to two other tricks that the [drug] companies pull." In response to several questions about the publication posed by __The Scientist__, an MSDA spokesperson wrote in an email: "MSDA understood that Elsevier envisaged the complimentary publication would draw on the vast resources of Elsevier, publishers of many leading peer-reviewed journals including __Lancet__, __Bone__, __Joint Bone Spine__ and others, to deliver novel and timely full text articles and abstracts to physicians." Many of the articles appearing in the __Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine__ were in fact reprints or summaries of studies that originally appeared in other Elsevier journals. A spokesperson for Elsevier, however, told __The Scientist__, "I wish there was greater disclosure that it was a sponsored journal." Disclosure of Merck's funding of the journal was not mentioned anywhere in the copies of issues obtained by __The Scientist__. Elsevier acknowledged that Merck had sponsored the publication, but did not disclose the amount the drug company paid. In a statement emailed to __The Scientist__, Elsevier said that the company "does not today consider a compilation of reprinted articles a 'Journal'." "Elsevier acknowledges the concern that the journals in question didn't have the appropriate disclosures," the statement continued. "It is worth noting that project in question was produced 6 years ago and disclosure protocols have evolved since 2003. Elsevier's current disclosure policies meet the rigor and requirements of the current publishing environment." The Elsevier spokesperson said the company wasn't aware of how many copies of the __Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine__ were produced or how the publication was distributed in Australia, but noted that "the common practice for sponsored journals is that doctors receive them complimentary." The spokesperson added that Elsevier had no plans to look further into the matter. One of the members of __Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine's__ "Honorary Editorial Board," Peter Brooks, a rheumatologist in Australia, said he didn't recall who asked him to serve on the board, but noted that he was on Merck's Asian Pacific and international advisory boards from the mid 1990s until about 2004, as well as the advisory boards of other pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Amgen. "You get involved in a whole bunch of things at this level," Brooks said, adding that he had put his name on "a few advertorials" for pharmaceutical companies about 10 years ago. As for the __Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine__, he said, "If it would have been put to me that [the journal] was just sort of a throwaway, then I would have said 'no'" to serving on its editorial board. He said he was never paid for his role, adding that he "didn't ever get [manuscripts] to review or anything like that," while on the board, because the journal did not accept original manuscripts for review. "Having looked at one issue, it actually had some marketing studies," Brooks said. "It also had papers that were excerpted from other peer-reviewed journals. I don't think it's fair to say it was totally a marketing journal." Editor's note (April 30): This story has been updated from a previous version.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Elsevier expands biopharma base;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54420/
[11th March 2008]*linkurl:Merck's fall from grace;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23391/
[May 2006]
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Comments

Avatar of: Dana Roth

Dana Roth

Posts: 7

April 30, 2009

The State Library of New South Wales has, according to WorldCat, v.1(2),2002-v.4(1),2005.\nThe journal has an ISSN and apparently changed title from Australasian journal of musculoskeletal medicine v.1(1),2002 since they both share a common ISSN.
Avatar of: ROBERT HARRISON

ROBERT HARRISON

Posts: 6

April 30, 2009

Can we find out how much money exchanged hands to have Elsevier Press go along with a clearly unethical Merck strategy? We sort of expect this conduct from big pharma, but not from a supposedly respectable journal publisher. I guess everybody has their price!\n\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 125

April 30, 2009

Frauds in science or medicine have become a common place ever since both became highly commercialized with monetary profits as the ultimate goal. I'm sure more dirts will be uncovered of the presitgious companies and institutions as time passes.
Avatar of: ARAM MEGIGHIAN

ARAM MEGIGHIAN

Posts: 5

April 30, 2009

As a scientist, sometimes I guess I was born too late. We have now any kind of technology helping our beautiful job, but we're lacking the "primum movens": curiosity. I was still able to meet the "old scientists" and, talking with them, I was always surprised by their 360 deg open mind, ready to discuss about topics apparently unrelated to their interests. Now, talking with the new young scientists I frequently find a high self estimation, a manager-like attitude and a close 1 deg mind focused on their topic(s) of interest. We're lacking curiosity and science is going to be highly homogeneised, afraid to follow new and strange trails.

April 30, 2009

With the volume and complexity of information available through electronic media these days, patients, doctors and researchers more than ever need comprehensive, unbiased sources of information. I have great respect for the pharmaceutical and publishing industries in general but this is a disgraceful display of deliberate deception by both parties. We desperately need unbiased reporting on new medicines, and new thinking on disease. Does it really have to come to this?
Avatar of: Toby Mills

Toby Mills

Posts: 1

April 30, 2009

It is a sad place that we find our self's, moral fibre appears to have all but vanished and those complicit in the pimping of science and truth hide behind bad memories and double talk. \n\n"...truth is the torch that I burn and hold sacred, knowledge is the god that I seek beyond hatred..."\nChester.P.Hackenbush

April 30, 2009

Popular opinion of scientists is already low, plenty of people have no problem seeing scientists as biased, motivated by things other than facts, and willing to manipulate data. Why they don't see pharma companies in the same light (when personally I think it applies more to pharma anyway) is beyond me. In the public view, something like this fiasco is just going to confirm their suspicions that science can't be trusted so why eat better/loose weight/get in better shape/use more sustainable products/consume less. \n\nI'm ashamed of Elsevier right now.

April 30, 2009

It appears that all scientific journals of repute will need a routine feature called "Recent Advances in Dishonesty in Science".\n\nI belong to the generation where "Merck Index" was picked up in Library with reverence.Did Merck have to do this even before the Economic meltdown?\nThere is no remorse in the response by Elsevier. That it was done before the current Editorial policy was laid down sounds politically correct rationalization. It is as bad as saying that Adultery before scripting of the Commandments was no sin! I had stupidly assumed that the notoriety gained by Anderson in Enron saga would not find a similar in Science. Thanks Merck & Elsevier for the "realty therapy". Hope I will mature in due course; but today I have a metallic taste in my mouth!
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

April 30, 2009

We had a number of folks leave our company to work for Merck recently. I hope they don't end up doing cleanup work instead of proper science. \n\n
Avatar of: Nasar S.K.T.

Nasar S.K.T.

Posts: 9

April 30, 2009

Here is an obnoxious example of profiteering overriding consideration even of saving life.\nMerck has been one of the most respected pharma companies.Frauds by corporates deserve exemplary punishments.
Avatar of: paulini buadromo

paulini buadromo

Posts: 1

May 1, 2009

Last year, the ministry of health in fiji have allowed the vaccination of cervical cancer to teenage girls less than 16 years old. This was a free immunisation and almost every school here in Fiji accepted this immunisation program and girls in this age group required to receive the immunisation under one condition, parents consent. There are lot of rumours in regarding this vaccine that the Merk company have dumped it to fiji as it near expired.\nand since my girls are fall within the age group I have made up my mind not to consent them for vaccination. While surfing in the internet seeking information and I came across that Merck have run the clinical trials for hundreds of subject and follow up within a short period of time,just to give a little prove that Gardsil have helped in reducing the HPV infection, despite the unknown side effects in the long term. Well the truth behind this is questionable and since merck have found to published fake journals, I think the Gardsil vaccination to reduce HPV virus infection is all lies,may be this is one way of straight forward marketing

May 1, 2009

Fake journals published by various drug companies is very common in Asia. These journals are circulated free of charge to doctors. They appear in different names and form different fake professional associations. We at the University of Colombo, Faculty of Medicine train our students in EBM and also about journals.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

May 1, 2009

WorldCat indicates that the corporate author of this journal is Excerpta Medica Communications, which is also the corporate author of 10 variants of "Australasian Journal of ..." (e.g., paediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology, dentistry).\n \nSearch the web for Excerpta Medica Communications and you'll find a "strategic medical communications agency" that is owned by Elsevier, with the purpose of partnering with "our clients in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries to educate the global healthcare community..."\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

May 2, 2009

At present, I do not know, if there is\nethics in a scientists heart anymore.\n\nBut it is common to fake scienctific data more and more. Especially for the pharma industry.\n\nLook to avastin. This drug is known for stopping angiogenesis and ROCHE tells the story, that this drug is useful for the treatment of several metastatic cancer types and a patient will live up to three more month (!!!). \n\nBut only with other cancer drugs and under clinical supervision and internal bleeding.\n\nAvastin for cancer treatment: A fake??? which brings billions of dollars.\n\nIn a discusion with a responsible member of the Avastin program I asked the question:\n\nYou know, that Avastin is not working properly.\n\nHe said: Yes, we know. But this is not important for us.\n\nAny questions....\n \n\n
Avatar of: Vinod Nikhra

Vinod Nikhra

Posts: 48

May 2, 2009

Producing fake research, fake articles and fake journals loaded with falsified information for marketing ends/strategies is, I think common. It's like that 'the friends write articles, get peer reviewed, paid indirectly, the journals get desired advertisers and everybody is happy except those who care for real scientific knowledge'.
Avatar of: VETURY SITARAMAM

VETURY SITARAMAM

Posts: 69

May 2, 2009

We do government aided, i.e.,publicly funded, research, remain accountable to a peer review system in getting grants and executing them as also in publishing the work and its follow through. The life of an author is accountable at every stage. The most critical part of it is that the onus rests with him that what he says is true and the means authentic.\nThe publishing world is commercial, aimed garnering more power in their businesses, in collaboration with an opaque editorial process that is beyond question aided by a peer review system that cannot be challenged. \nIt is time we recognize the publishing world for what it is...we can discern parochial, self-serving operations at every stage and yet we are reluctant to do something about bringing in more transparency. In stead, we fall for even more creative commerical activities with the fond hope that there is something in it for us. Citation industry set up by ISI, open access publishing (for a hefty price that is) now are all excellent money making devices that we continuously fall for. \nWhat Merck and Elsevier have done is admittedly at the far end of the spectrum. But, indeed, the entire publishing world shares the sin to a variable degree simply due to lack of transparency and accountability.\nThe appeal for self-serving solutions is irresistable. When we speak of major institutes, major centres of learning, G8 countries and research in the same breath, we are talking about man-made hierarchies and egotisms at the expense of percolation of creative thought.Corruption succeeds not because there is evil, but because everybody believes that they benefit from it.The opaque structures we create foster this illusion.\nThe question is, what do we do? For what I have initiated, please go to...\nhttp://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2009/03/indian_researcher_charges_jour.html\n \nThe issue is not citation malpractices nor rejection of papers. It is wrong science by a built in buddy system, where nothing else matters.

May 3, 2009

Noting Dana Roth's comment about a library having it... the PDFs show an institutional rate of A$250/year for the rag. I wonder if they can get their money back.\n\nI don't know why I should be but I am quite surprised at Elsevier fitting this into their business model. Reputation is really all you have in this business. Their response that they wish Merck had made it plainer it was marketing... um, you are the folks who published it, one would think you would have had a say in that?
Avatar of: RANDY CRAWFORD

RANDY CRAWFORD

Posts: 2

May 3, 2009

I notice here a dearth of comments as to whether the items printed under Merck's sponsorship contain information that is true or false. Anybody got a clue whether the published information is accurate, or somehow otherwise? Apparently, what was published has been true information, and critics merely wish to obscure this. In my own experience, lies have been told about supposed "dangers" of Merck vaccines, but dozens and dozens of administrations to me personally of MMR, Zostavax, Varivax, etc. vaccines for successful off-label autoimmunodistraction therapy have been entirely beneficial. Merck or any other pharm company has as its goal making products that are (a) safe, and (b) therapeutically efficacious. In my own experience, using myself as a patient and guinea pig, Merck's vaccines have been entirely safe and effective. Whining about side issues is merely whining about side issues, and interferes with getting good medicines to people like me who need them, from Merck or anyone else. People might learn from the Federal Vaccine Court, which ruled recently in Cedillo v. HHS that Merck's MMR vaccine in particular was NOT (as falsely alleged previously) responsible for causing autism and other erroneously attributed pathophysiologies.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

May 4, 2009

No all scientists are bad... we get punished every time some so scandal from the multi-billion dollar companies comes out. Most scientist are good people trying to make a difference, and didn't get into the business of research to make a buck, unfortunately the drug era has made that possible. Just don't forget about all the other nameless scientists you are shamelessly accusing of practicing the same faulty science...Most of us take the validity of our work very seriously and got into the business to help people
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

May 4, 2009

I wonder what else is to be uncovered? Being fired is a slap on the wrist for this criminal offense. Where are the regulations put on these companies?\nThe more I work in medicine, the more I find it to be a conspiracy against the well being of people. \n\nProfit over patient safety has been the goal since day one; I've never trusted Merck. \n\nI agree that not all scientists are "bad", but you "good" ones who are in science for the "right" reasons and not the almighty dollar, you have quite the uphill battle to prove that otherwise.\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 125

May 5, 2009

Unfortunately, it seems ethical conducts by the scientists have eroded over the years to increase those in the "bad" category while decreasing those in the "good" category. And perhaps there's a inherent flaw with the current culture of research science, particularly with respect to the reward system. For example, a dark side of the "publish or perish" rule is that there's always a temptation to submit insufficient, questionable, or, even, falsified data by scientists who are under a constant pressure to increase publications to advance or improve their scientific careers.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

May 5, 2009

This is called sponsored publishing, great euphemism, eh? I used to work for Elsevier and the Excerpta Medica folks make gobs of money creating publications for big pharma. It's all collaboration within the rules of FDA, but not the ethical ones! And it calls into question the validity of lots of published and cited articles. Once cited, they live forever unless retracted--which is rare. I work in health technology assessment and these days we see a very high percentage of simply awful science published in peer reviewed journals...they should be ashamed of themselves.
Avatar of: Jeff Cable

Jeff Cable

Posts: 1

May 5, 2009

This is unsurprising misconduct from a pharmaceutical company but I was surprised to learn that Elsevier were a willing partner in this sordid subterfuge.\n\nOne can only hope that this information will be viewed as the urgent and alarming wake-up call that it truly is. Hopefully, these fraudulent acts will cause the medical profession to both examine and treat itself. The most appropriate action requires that there is a global moratorium on the sponsorship of clinical trials by any and every pharmaceutical company, in perpetuity. \n\nUntil that happy day, there will not be any trustworthy clinical trial, precisely because pharmaceutical companies have decided on the thrust of the trial, the exclusion criteria and the odious practise of ensuring a failure to document those participants who were lost to follow-up because of their inability to support another ill-considered and infantile 'hypothesis'. It appears to be a universal maxim (among drug companies) that the trial participants who fail to support the hypothesis are all to be described in the published paper as clinically insignificant, despite their sudden death or severe adverse reactions. \n\nIt should be clear to all and sundry that pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are not altruistic and that the patient outcomes (death or life) have no influence on the (mis)conduct of pharmaceutical companies. Their ideal aim is to have nations full of people who are never quite well enough to empty their medicine cabinets.\n\nCreating a climate of fear concerning mortality and health, is what the drug companies do best. Like the dealers of heroin and crack cocaine, there is no concern for the outcome because there will be just as many new fools willing to give large sums of money to the drug companies, in return for the promise of a long and happy life. Like the dealers of heroin and crack cocaine, the pharmaceutical companies ought to be jailed for the suborning of clinicians and the deliberate deceit of the public, governments and clinicians, as evidenced by this depressing article.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

May 5, 2009

A little web search shows -- \nhttp://diamond.cs.cmu.edu/people.html\n\n-- you work for Merck.\n\nSo when you write in your comments -- \n\n"Whining about side issues is merely whining about side issues, and interferes with getting good medicines to people like me who need them, from Merck or anyone else."\n\nYou haven't been looking at your own company marketing materials very carefully.\n\nThe corruption in medicine rivals that of the financial world... and you're not doing anything to help out (the same web search on your name shows you've been commenting for quite some time on behalf of Merck (but not any other company), AND without identifying yourself as a Merck employee).\n\nThat's not cool.
Avatar of: Dan Abshear

Dan Abshear

Posts: 8

May 10, 2009

The Atrophy Of Objectivity\n\nIf I were to rate the corruptive tactics performed by big pharmaceutical companies during my intimate experience with them , the frequent and intentional strategy of implementing fabricated and unreliable results of clinical trials performed by others possibly tops the list. \n\nA list of corruptive tactics by the pharmaceutical industry that sponsors such trials. By this atrophy of the scientific method absent of authenticity that has been known to occur, harm and damage is possibly done to the health of the public. \n\nMost would agree that the science of research should be sound and as aseptic as possible- completely free of deliberate and reckless interference. \n\nHowever, it appears, money and increased profits can be a catalyst for disregard for human health with the clinical trial process that is largely unregulated. \n\nThis is particularly a factor on post-marketing studies of various pharmaceutical companies, as some pharmaceutical corporations seem to be deliberately conducting nothing less than seeding trials- with about a 50 percent tax credit for these trial sponsors. \n\nTrials that are in fact pointless and void of scientific benefit.\n\nDecades ago, clinical trials were conducted at academic settings that focused on the acquisition of knowledge and the completely objective discoveries of drugs and devices to benefit mankind. \n\nThen, in 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act, Public Law 96-517,was created, which allowed for such places with their researchers to profit off of their discoveries that were performed for pharmaceutical companies and others in the past.\n \nFurthermore, such academic institutions were coerced to license patented inventions to those pharmaceutical companies that will then commercialize these discoveries paid for in large part by the taxpayers who funded this research to a degree.\n\nThis resulted in the creation of for-profit research trial sites without any academic affiliation that are called Contract Research Organizations. \n\nCROS utilize primarily community patient care clinics whose staff are absent of any research training compared with the former researchers that existed decades ago. They are regulated, so they say, by institutional review boards, or IRBs. Both are for profit and essentially cater to the sponsor of the clinical trial in which all are involved with manipulating.\n\nBecause of this structure, the clinical trial investigators of these pharmaceutical sponsored trials are likely novice compared with academic researchers. \n\nThis, of course, happens with intent by the sponsor who can and does control all aspects of the clinical trial protocol at the site locations of a clinical trial that the pharmaceutical company structures and even gives the trial the title they want for their marketing purposes. \n\nThese quite numerous CROS are in fact for- profit, with some CROs making billions of dollars a year, and this market continues to grow. \n\nThe trials conducted at such places again are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies that control and manipulate all aspects of the trial being conducted involving their particular drug chosen to be studied. \n\nEtiology for their deception regarding this manipulation is because the pharmaceutical company that sponsors such a trial is basically creating a marketing tool for this drug of theirs to be studied in this manner. \n\nThis coercion is done by various methods of deception in subtle and tacit methods. \n\nAs a result, research in this protocol of the sponsor ensures favorable results of the sponsor?s medication that is involved in the clinical trial they clearly own. \n\nThese activities are again believed to be absent of true or applied regulation to any degree, and therefore have the autonomy to create whatever they want to benefit the pharmaceutical sponsor.\n\nThere likely is a collusive relationship between the sites, the CRO, and the sponsor, as this whole system is planned beforehand by the pharmaceutical sponsor of their clinical trial to again be utilized to increase the market share of the drug studied that they promote. \n\nGuest authorship has been known to be aggressively recruited by sponsors by paying a known opinion leader to sign off on the completed clinical trial. \n\nFurthermore, the pharmaceutical sponsor recruits investigators to be used for this function of what ultimately is a fabricated clinical trial protocol. \n\nThe trial manuscript and protocol design is prepared by those employed by the drug company sponsor upon specific direction of this sponsor on how this should be prepared. \n \nThe medical program coordinator of a particular sponsored trial is an actual employee of the sponsoring drug company. \n\nThis person also may act as the publisher, manuscript version reviewer, and the clinical trial director who works with the drug company?s hired CRO editors whose objectives are to benefit the sponsor. \n\nTypical and ultimate cost of the final manuscript of the trial to the sponsor created by the hired CRO and the recruited ghostwriters exceeds 1000 dollars per page, some have said. \n\nMerck engages in this behavior, which shocked many, as they were always viewed as an ethical pharmaceutical company that always placed patients over profits. \n\nApparently, this is no longer the case. There are other well known and large pharmaceutical corporations that consider this plan of action standard operating procedures to ensure growth of their drugs.\n\nFurther disturbing is that once the creation of the trials is completed, the research paper is often composed with specific directions by the sponsor to writers known again as ghostwriters. \n\nThese people are usually not identified and acknowledged by the sponsor, and may not be trained in clinical research overall, as they are simply freelance writers. \n\nOne does not need research training or certification in order to perform this function. Rarely do clinical trial ghostwriters question their instructions about their assignment, which is clearly deceptive and undocumented by the pharmaceutical sponsor. \n\nAlso, these hired mystery writers are known to make about 100 grand a year performing this deception full time. \n\nThis activity removes accountability and authenticity of the fabricated clinical trial even further. \n\nThe corruptive act is finally completed by the sponsor hiring again a known thought leader as an author to have their name be placed on the trial, while this hired author likely had absolutely no involvement with the trial, or even reviewing the trial is not asked or required by the hired author, others have said. \n\nTo have the trial published, the sponsor has been known to pay an obscure journal, and the sponsor bribes the journal in a few ways, such as the sponsor purchasing from a selected journal thousands of reprints of their study from the journal, for example. \n\nAgain, how often this process is performed is unknown, yet frequent enough to create hundreds of such false writers mentioned earlier and progressively growing research sites to receive the support the pharmaceutical industry. \n\nSo benefits of pharmaceuticals that are studied in such a malicious way potentially can harm patients and their treatment options along with clear safety risks as a result of this process.\n\nThe purchased reprints of the fabricated clinical trial are then bought by the sponsor of the study from the medical journal they hired to publish this trial. \n\nThe reprints are eventually distributed to the sponsor?s sales force to share the content with prescribers, with the sales force completely unaware about this manipulation that has happened with such a trial that benefits the drug they promote for their employer. \n\nAs a bonus, the sponsor may agree to pay the chosen medical journal to advertise their products to be placed in this journal as well.\n\nSuch misconduct discussed so far impedes research and the scientific method with frightening ethical and harmful concerns, as stated previously. \n\nIf so, our health care treatment options with drugs that are claimed to have benefits that are absent have now become unreliable in large part due to such corruptive situations. \n\nNot to mention the absence of objectivity that has been intentionally eliminated with trials produced in this way. \n\nMore now than ever, meds are removed from the market or are given black box warnings due to the damaging effects of drugs approved by the FDA. We as citizens need to dig deep and ask why this is happening.\n\nTransparency and disclosure needs to happen with the pharmaceutical industry for reasons such as this as well as many others, in order to correct what we have historically relied upon for conclusive proof, which is the scientific method. \n\nMore importantly, research should be conducted in a way that the sponsor cannot in any way interfere in such ways described in this article, which would require independent clinical trial sites with no involvement from the maker of the drug studied in a clinical trial.\n\nAnd clearly, regulation has to be enforced not selectively, but in a complete fashion regarding such matters. \nPublic awareness would be a catalyst for this to occur, after initially experiencing a state of total disbelief that such operations actually are conducted by such people, of course. \n\nWe can no longer be dependent on others for our optimal health.\n\nKnowledge is power, and is also possibly a lifesaver.\n \n?Ethics and Science need to shake hands.? ??. Richard Cabot\n\nDan Abshear\n\nAuthor?s note: What has been written was based upon information and belief.\n\nPublished on: www.brainblogger.com\n\n\n
Avatar of: Jeff Shumka

Jeff Shumka

Posts: 1

May 12, 2009

...that the "Journal of Awesome Merckiness" seemed a bit off.\n\nShame on those tobacco, er, I mean pharma companies.\n\nSorry, I'd love to say more, but I'm off to get an HPV vaccine injected into my prostate.\n\n
Avatar of: Brenda Guhl

Brenda Guhl

Posts: 5

May 14, 2009

...well, briefly, for one paper, and then that particular company went under. \n\nBut people should know that scientific paper ghost writing is widespread in the whole biotech field. At the time I saw it as a way companies could get valid studies done even though the doctors conducting them are too busy to write (or frankly, bad writers). \n\n(Click link for my description of this practice:\n\nhttp://bioblog.biotunes.org/bioblog/2008/04/17/mercks-fraud-is-standard-industry-practice/)\n\nI still think this is the case a lot of the time, but of course routinely doing something like this becomes a slippery slope all too easily. There is no internal ethics check in these companies, or if there is, it deteriorates slowly. So pretty soon it evolves to someone getting paid a lot by the company to write a paper putting the product in a favorable light, and paying a real doctor to slap his name on it because he thinks he probably finds the results reasonable, even though he had nothing to do with the study.\n\nFrankly, I think Elsevier should be more the target of the public's ire. We pretty much expect a for-profit business to try something like Merck did. What is utterly shocking is that a previously respected publisher, who is supposed to be independent, would go along with it for the money.\n\nThen again, the publishers are for-profit too, and have made their business restricting scientific access to those without institutional affiliation or a ton of money. But there should be a huge backlash against Elsevier to discourage this practice in the future. It is highly deceptive and disturbingly cynical.
Avatar of: Raman Parkesh

Raman Parkesh

Posts: 2

May 19, 2009

Science is really going through a critical phase these days. The only scientific truth i learnt is PPP; publish, present (PPT) or else perish. Today Scientists are more interested in publishing, glorying their work and are experts in power-point presentation. You no longer have scientific discussion with your boss because he or she is not interested. The only thing which is of interest is data, data and more data. \n\nWhat is happening to scientific curiosity, beauty of scientific argument and spirit of science. \nMoney, fraud and hype has taken over science and i see this trend to continue for some more time till common-sense will prevail.
Avatar of: Stephen Dolle

Stephen Dolle

Posts: 16

May 19, 2009

That's right. Who needs big corporate pharma and medical mfrs when you can age in reverse. Last year I got my hydrocephalus properly shunted and brain back after 16 years and 6 failed "Wall Street" revisions. PLUS I'm doing the "calorie restriction diet" and don't need "acid reflux" meds anymore. My GI and joint complaints are gone! My cognitive and brain functions are improving!\n\nNsgs have been widely misinformed on their use of CNS shunt devices for years, and this led to my poor shunting outcome in 1992 and misdiagnosis of NPH since. I'm now 54. My determination to be productive led nsgs to believe large ventricles were normal for me. But my toughness also led me to pioneer a new test method for hydrocephalus, the DiaCeph Test, though with no support from big corporate.\n\nIn May 2008, I used my DiaCeph Test to direct my own successful brain shunt revision (new nsg decided he'd listen) and the FU CT images are stunning. I host a compelling scientific paper on my web site on how I select and use CNS shunts. Big corporate's misplaced priorities would seem to be the same theme in the above article.\n\nStephen Dolle\n"Now Aging in Reverse"\nhttp://www.dollecommunications.com\n
Avatar of: Petre Dini

Petre Dini

Posts: 1

September 21, 2009

While browsing the net, I found two more fake journals in Computer Science:\n\n(1) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/contact-ijcsis)\n\n(2) International Journal of Computer and Network Security (http://www.ijcns.org/)
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 77

January 4, 2010

That's all it is and has been. That the U.S. Congress is trying to "institutionalize", at the public's expense, the existent corruption in Insurance, Pharma, medical research, medical associations, and so-called "health-care" organizations instead of auditing and investigating them first is just an indication of how far and deep their corruption has spread.\n\nElsevier and Merck are just another in a long list of disgraces where the reputations of really accomplished and honorable scientists and the institution of science itself are used as camouflage for their craven obsession for profits at any price. \n\nIf they, and other hustlers, are not called out and taken to task, then the public will continue to associate their names with credible science and credible science will be thrown in the gutter along with them.

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