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The Scientist revealed Thursday that pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharp & Dohme paid Elsevier—the world’s largest publisher of medical and scientific literature—to produce a publication that gave the appearance of being a medical journal, but was actually a marketing promotion for Merck. The 2003 publication, The The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, was written by the staff of Merck to favor Merck pharmaceuticals and lacked the unbiased peer review that is crucial to the credibility of medical journals, presenting evidence for the efficacy of a Merck drug when nonpharmacological therapy may have worked just as well. “Clearly putting together something that looked like a medical journal and that contained articles (and excerpts from articles) that had only good things to say about Merck products reflects an intent to deceive,” said ScienceBlogger Janet from Adventures in Ethics and Science.

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