The American Scholar has a brutal take-down of the relationship between drug companies and medical journals.
Flimsy plastic pens that scream the virtues of Vioxx and articles published in the pages of The New England Journal of Medicine would seem to mark the two poles of medical influence. Scarcely any doctor admits to being influenced by the former; every doctor boasts of being guided by the latter. In fact, medical-journal articles are widely embraced as irreproachable bastions of disinterested scientific evaluation and as antidotes to the long fiscal arm of pharmaceutical-industry influence.
And yet, “All journals are bought—or at least cleverly used—by the pharmaceutical industry,” says Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal …
The article details several ways drug companies influence journals and offers some solutions.