Ghostwriters Used in Vioxx Studies, Article Says
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: October 2nd, 2022
The drug maker Merck drafted dozens of research studies for a best-selling drug, then lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports before publication, according to an article ... in a leading medical journal. The article, based on documents unearthed in lawsuits over the pain drug Vioxx, provides a rare, detailed look in the industry practice of ghostwriting medical research studies that are then published in academic journals. The article cited one draft of a Vioxx research study that was still in want of a big-name researcher, identifying the lead writer only as “External author?” Vioxx was a best-selling drug before Merck pulled it from the market in 2004 over evidence linking it to heart attacks. Last fall the company agreed to a $4.85 billion settlement to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits. The lead author of Wednesday’s article, Dr. Joseph S. Ross ... said a close look at the Merck documents raised broad questions about the validity of much of the drug industry’s published research, because the ghostwriting practice appears to be widespread. “It almost calls into question all legitimate research that’s been conducted by the pharmaceutical industry with the academic physician,” Dr. Ross said, whose article ... was published Wednesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. Although the role of pharmaceutical companies in influencing medical journal articles has been questioned before, the Merck documents provided the most comprehensive look at the magnitude of the practice.
Note: Vioxx may have been responsible for 500,000 premature deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.