Elsevier Caught Again: Published Ghost Written, Industry Supporting Articles As Scientific Resesarch

from the credibility? dept

Earlier this year, it was revealed that publishing giant Elsevier had allowed pharma king Merck to create a fake peer reviewed journal that hyped up certain Merck products, such that doctors would think that there was some serious science behind them. It later came out that Elsevier actually had a whole division which specialized in publishing such fake journals, made to appear real, and given the Elsevier stamp of approval (which hopefully is now becoming worthless). But, it appears things keep getting worse. Coral Hess notes yet another scandal, once again involving Elsevier’s (now) fake stamp of approval. This time, it involved people hired by certain pharma companies ghostwriting scientific “review” articles that were supposed to give an overview of all the research on certain treatments, but… “emphasized the benefits and de-emphasized the risks” of those treatments. And people wonder why we’re so skeptical about allowing pharma companies to dictate both our healthcare plans and our patent laws…

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Comments on “Elsevier Caught Again: Published Ghost Written, Industry Supporting Articles As Scientific Resesarch”

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Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Re: Support health care reform?

Most likely because they will be getting a guaranteed chunk of taxpayer money instead of just getting what they get for swindling the public into giving them cash for high priced meds. And I bet there will be some nice pharma patent extension and exclusive government med provider riders on some of these health care bills.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:


I enjoy the articles on pharma on this site because they point out what should be obvious to folks who don’t obsessively read about pharma firms (hell, I’m probably the only one that would want to), but it gets frustrating.

Mike points at a big pile of steamy, corny shit and says, “Look at that pile of shit! Can you believe how bad it stinks?”

Then everyone fights over exactly how bad the pile of shit stinks. Some people talk about how it costs a lot of money to MAKE the steamy pile of shit. Others talk about how there are fake polystyrene piles of joke shit out there being sold on the black market, and that those piles of shit don’t stink the right way.

Meanwhile I’m shaking my head and pinching my nose, because all debates aside, the current pharma industry is making billions while we debate exactly what kind of big, steamy pile of shit it is….

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: What's the real issue???

“If you can spit garbage out from your keyboard, so can they….”

Are you missing the point here, sparky? Mike can spit all the “garbage” he wants. Why? Because it comes from him and he says so. This is a pharma REVIEW JOURNAL, a mainstay of our current healthcare system, essentially allowing pharma firms to write their own reviews. I mean, I know you’re a shill, but at least try to make a point that isn’t so ridiculous that it’s immediatly dismissed. C’mon, I want a challenge.

“Free speach, remember all that preaching you do???? They can say anything they want.”

I put in a period for you, since you’re clearly on yours.

In any case, this is an opinion site by a guy, so free speech is applicable. Elsevier is a review journal of the pharma industry that is in charge of honestly evaluating drugs for peer review, which is used in the validation process, so….no. They’re big industry liars. Paid shills to push through drug approvals. Go read up on Searl and Donald Rumsfeld w/regard to aspartame.


digibaby says:

Re: Re: Re: What's the real issue???

Your average Joe Blow Doctor is up to their eyeballs in patients that they have to keep up with thanks to ins. cos. not paying very much per visit. They really don’t have time to sit down, read the research, do the math and decide for themselves. Instead they read the “peer reviewed” reviews and judge from there. Add to the fact that they get these nice people from the pharma cos, who bring them lunch, feed their staff, stock em up on tons of samples, and offer them a nice incentive for prescribing “our drug” instead of “theirs”, it’s easy to see where a overworked doc would just prescribe whatever the latest fad is.

Coral Hess (user link) says:

Reviews aren't "opinions," in the sense you seem to mean

Reviews are summaries of agreed-upon scientific fact. They are expected to be written objectively, as much as possible, and they are supposed to take into account the widest possible swath (ideally, all) of the literature about a given topic. They aren’t editorials or opinions–they are measured scientific judgment.

And practicing doctors read them, because doctors do not have time to read every piece of literature on every drug that’s out there.

Anony1 says:

Reviews are nothing more than opinions as well..

Right..except there are clearly objective reviews, which clearly only review the data, and non-objective reviews.
The non-objective reviews are essentially commercials.
Even if the data is the same, or presented with the same authority as a normal journal (which it can’t be, because there is no objectivity), it’s presented in a commercial format. Most intelliegent people can tell the difference.
Trolls may be an exception, and it seems so in this case.

What they did may be lacking in morals, but it is far from illegal..

Oh so they’re only morally lacking. Well in that case, I’m sure to want to get my drug review from that journal, as opposed to research presented by someone who will “do no harm”. “No morals, can’t be trusted” or “do no harm”. Such a hard choice to make…NOT.

@Michial Thompson: If you’re going to troll, at least try and make your arguments seem logical.

Dale Sheldon (user link) says:

Re: Elsevier? Or Wyeth?

Which linked article? The one that said this:

One said “all,” the other said “some” and only named Elsevier (who publishes a majority of the medical journals in the world.)

But to answer your question, Elsevier is getting the blame because they got caught doing almost the same thing just three months ago with pain relief medicines. Fool me once…

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

When the Grant-Funding Agencies Take Over.

The kind of work a funding agency, such as the National Institutes of Health, does, in the course of supervising grants, is very much the same work that the editor of a journal does. The main difference is that, since grant money is scarcer than paper and ink, the funding agency’s standards are higher than those of a legitimate journal. If a journal editor has two articles competing for the same slot, both of which have gone through the review process, and he cannot decide which he likes best, the marginal cost of printing both is only a hundred dollars or so. This similarity of work means that if a funding agency wants to publish the research it funds, it can do so at very little additional expense. They already know about a given piece of research coming up for publication, because they saw it at the grant proposal stage. The resulting journal will be inherently of high prestige, simply because it contains work which was good enough to get grants in the first place.

Elsevier, on the other hand, is essentially an academic vanity press. It is based on the premise that the author pays, either directly, or indirectly, by exerting pressure to get his library to buy journals. The pharmaceutical company scandals are simply the tip of the iceberg. There will be another scandal, and another scandal after that.

Every scandal will increase the pressure for the funding agencies to set up their own publication systems, simply to disassociate themselves from the mess, and with every funding agency which takes the plunge, Elsevier will be driven deeper into the swamp of vanity publication. The rate of scandals will increase, in a positive feedback loop.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: When the Grant-Funding Agencies Take Over.

Oh please, the NIH is another Rockefeller group that regularly spouts lies. They just don’t have as much of a spotlight placed on them.

The NIH has been guilty of putting out medical “studies” rife with recall bias and small sample numbers, or the use of rats, all in an effort to correlate health benefits or minimize health risks for big pharma.

Then, thanks to the Bayh-Dole Act, they can fund public studies that result in private industry patents, which are then used to charge the public exhorbent rates for the drugs THEY funded the research on.

The NIH is a joke. Just another corruted beauracracy.

mhenriday (profile) says:

Those fake «journals» are the bane of the profession,

but they will continue to be published as long as unethical publishers (are there any others ?) like Elsevier can continue to rake in money from pharmaceutical firms, whose representatives foist them on colleagues too busy with patients or (most often) administrative work to take to heart the old adage that «paper never refused ink». As Adam Smith realised, «markets» are not self-regulating, but require outside intervention in order to fulfil their functions….

Henri (PhD, MD)

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