I have been blogging about reports of publishing scandals in the pharmaceutical industry of late, and today published a story in the Toronto Star wrapping up some of them.
From the creation of fake academic journals, to bogus stories submitted to real journals, to falsified results in some of academia's most respected publications – the pharmaceutical industry has been rocked by allegations that the world's biggest drug companies put public relations above public safety.
As consumer advocate Peter Lurie put it recently: "I've seen no shortage of creativity emanating from the marketing departments of drug companies."
The allegations have come to light thanks to lawsuits in the United States and Australia seeking compensation for drug costs that the plaintiffs claim were too high. The suits allege the drug companies skewed academic investigations into their products, thereby driving up the price they could charge.
Trudo Lemmens, an associate professor of medical law at the University of Toronto, says it should not be left to the civil courts to uncover what he calls "publishing as marketing."
"You have to ask yourself, why isn't there more regulatory control?"
Lemmens would like to see tougher conflict-of-interest rules and more oversight of how drug trials are conducted, and the results published.