May 11, 2009
THE world’s largest medical publisher, Elsevier, has expressed embarrassment at its role in a deceptive marketing ploy by the giant drug company Merck after it was revealed in a Melbourne court.
Elsevier said it had failed to meet its own “high standards for disclosure” when it produced a magazine that pretended to be an independent scientific journal but was actually a marketing front for Merck’s anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx.
The Amsterdam-based publisher is part of the Reed Elsevier group, which produces the Lancet, the authoritative medical journal that has accused Merck of selling Vioxx after it became aware of the drug’s heart risks.
More than 1000 Australians, led by Graeme Peterson, who claims Vioxx caused him to have a heart attack in 2003, have mounted a class action against Merck. They claim the US company and its Australian subsidiary knew about the increased cardiovascular risks of Vioxx, but played them down in the lead-up to the drug being voluntarily recalled in 2004.
Comment from Leslie
Where is the justice?