BMJ Advertising Watch : 26 January 2008

This is the British Medical Journal Advertising analysis for this week.

I'll also continue to comment on any appearance of any discussion in the BMJ about questionable Ezetimibe research.

Rules: As usual this is for the UK version of the BMJ. The classified advertisement section is excluded, as are pages advertising the BMA or products of the BMJ/BMA/BNF.

Comment: This week the BMJ exceeded all records with 24.5 pages of advertising (giving 1 page of advertising for each 2.4 pages of content). Again 98% of the advertising was for pharmaceuticals. The other 2% was a single half page advertisement for Ramsay Healthcare (for more about Ramsay and their cozy arrangements with the Labour Government see here).

Discussion about the Ezetimibe scandal: Finally, the BMJ published a short news piece by the excellent Jeanne Lenzer on the shonky research underlying the approval of Ezetimibe (Ezetriol, Vytorin, Zetia). There remains no discussion in the BMJ about the precise way in which the scientific community were deceived, the delayed reporting, the attempts to circumvent investigators and to alter endpoints, the interesting sale of Schering shares ($25 million) by an executive, or any discussion of the principles of good science. However a belated and half-hearted congratulations. In contrast to the last issue, there were no advertisements for Ezetimibe.

Merck and Schering-Plough state:
"All of us at Merck and Schering-Plough proudly stand by the established efficacy and safety profiles of Zetia and Vytorin."
Define efficacy. Given the evidence of your behavior, why should we believe you?

Our profession remains mute.

Click here for collated BMJ Advertising analyses.

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