Will Medical Journals Go the Way of the White Paper – Ultra Long Sales Letters?

Apparently, there is a bit of stir in the biotech industry as one major big pharma company has put together a bunch of reports and research papers into a scientific journal like magazine. We’ve witnessed over the years how “whitepapers” went from pure research and scientific reports to ad hoc marketing pieces promoting company products and services. The problem with setting up a journal like format without identifying that it is solely produced by a company is that the reports inside may not have been peer reviewed like other scientific journals require.

Is this unethical? Some think so, some say anything goes, others warn it sets up an unfortunate precedence and since it works, others will follow, thus, questioning the scientific credibility of all science journals in biotech. Still, what other sectors of science might try this? Well, we know from the whitepaper marketing techniques that software companies, material companies, and manufacturing companies are probably inline for this scheme. According to The Scientist; ScienceBlogs Weekly Update:

“It was revealed Thursday that pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharp & Dohme paid Elsevier to produce a publication that gave the appearance of being a medical journal, but was actually a marketing promotion for Merck. 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.”

Perhaps, you can see the implications of this. If the scientific community comes down hard on this tactic, it may stop and thus, some self-policing may solve the problem, but if not and certainly a bio-tech company has enough money and public relations power to drown out the critics, then indeed, we might see this happening more and more. And maybe it is happening elsewhere presently, although we shall see? Think on this.

BOLA TANGKAS