Pharmaceutical smear campaigns finally being exposed.

If anything good has come out of the Vioxx litigation/saga so far it has been the exposure of the very subtle but insidious practice of drug companies paying doctors, medical schools and research facilities to write articles, provide commentary to news organizations and engage in what are essentially whisper campaigns against new or old drugs that are being marketed by competitors.

Today's online NY Times has an editorial by Daniel Carlat, a professor at Tuft's Medical School, the discusses a few of these practices.  

What makes this practice so damaging is that most of the news media and publishing world never asks or reports the conflicts of interest many of these authors have in either promoting or disparaging a particular drug. It's interesting reading and something to keep in mind the next time you see an article outlining the supposed risks of a particular drug, it's benefits, or risks, particularly a drug that is being questioned or considered for product litigation.  

Now, if only the major state and national legal publications would start mentioning the fact that most of their authors and speakers also happen to be their largest advertisers and contributors, and we might start making progress in the "truth in writing" campaign.  

Posted on May 9, 2006 .