MEDICAL JOURNALS PIMP FOR BIG PHARMA
By Jon Christian Ryter
June 19, 2010
PLoS Medicine a peer review journal for the Public Library of Science claimed in an article that the most respected medical journals have become much too dependent on revenue from the pharmaceutical industry from two sources. First, advertising revenue which, according to PLoS, is the least corrupting form of revenue since the pharmaceutical industry should have the right to reach their potential customers in the periodicals their customers—doctors—read. What is the bigger problem, and what corrupts the integrity of the advertising process in about 25 different medical journals according to PLoS in an article published by the Public Library of Science five years ago (but never read by the general public which does not generally subscribe to it) is the second source of “advertising” revenue. The PR firms hired by the pharmaceutical giants pay fees to the journals to print well-edited capsulated synopsis of the drug trials.
The PR firms know that when the drug trials are published in any medical journal, the drug and the test tacitly carry that journal’s stamp of approval simply by appearing in it. According to PLoS, a favorable review in a periodical like the Journal of American Medicine and the British Medical Journal and Lancet which have global distribution is worth thousands of pages of advertising. The PR companies will sometimes pay upwards of a million dollars for reprints of the articles to send to drug distributors, pharmaceutical wholesalers and medical professionals. While the PR firms admit the recipients of the reprints seldom read them, what they rely on is the name of the prestigious journal printing the review of giving a new drug credibility in the marketplace it has not earned from evidence of their curative abilities. The more important the medical journal, the more credibility the drug receives in the eyes of the physicians who receive the reprints.