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Leading medical publisher Elsevier has admitted producing journals that favour particular drug companies without disclosing the sponsorship connection.
The actions of the company, which publishes the Lancet, has been described by boss Michael Hansen as “an unacceptable practice” that he regrets took place.
He was referring in particularly to The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, which promoted Merck’s osteoporosis drug Fosamax and the painkiller Vioxx.
Mr Hansen revealed that between 2000 and 2005 the company’s office in Australia produced a series of sponsored articles that resembled independent editorial but which lacked proper disclosure.
He also acknowledged that in that same period six publications were paid for by drug companies, which made them little more than “elaborate marketing tools”.
Merck has said that its policy is to clearly state when they sponsor articles or studies, and that this was done in the fifth issue of the Australasian Journal, which was published twice a year from 2002 to 2005.
Copyright Press Association 2009