A Defense of Professional Medical Writers

Updated on February 16 with a response by Tom Yates to Karen Woolley. Editor’s Note: In response to a recent guest post by Tom Yates on industry sponsored editorial assistance, the following comment was submitted  by Karen Woolley on behalf of the Global Alliance of Publication Professionals. This thoughtful statement deserves attention, but I would point out…

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Guest Post: Industry Sponsored Editorial Assistance

Editor’s Note: The following guest post by Tom Yates is reprinted with permission from his blog Sick Populations. Yates is a UK-based physician with an interest in epidemiology and population health. Industry Sponsored Editorial Assistance by Tom Yates The September 2011 edition of the Quarterly Journal of Medicine contained two review articles which dealt with the use…

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Letter From Jail: A Cautionary Tale

CardioBrief reprints a letter from a friend in jail. Are there lessons to be learned from it?

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Industry & Medicine: It’s Complicated

Some people think industry exerts a uniformly negative force on medicine, or at least that’s the only aspect they focus on when they write or talk about the issue. Others focus exclusively on the beneficial effects of industry, and exhibit amnesia in their failure to recall the numerous instances in recent years in which the…

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Understanding Risk: Tricky Business

Editor’s Note: The attached article (click on the image to download the PDF) about understanding risk was originally published in the Harvard Health Letter in 1994. I recently stumbled across it in my archives and thought some readers here might enjoy it. Although it is directed at a consumer and not a professional audience, I…

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Part 1: The National Lipid Association and the FH Guidelines

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series on the National Lipid Association. This first part focuses on the NLA’s publication of a series of papers offering expert guidance on familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and raises serious questions about the role of industry in the documents. The second part explores additional questions about the…

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ACC CEO Jack Lewin Provides The Argument Against Industry Money

The ACC’s CEO Jack Lewin may have put forth the single best and most concise argument against industry funding of medical societies. Here’s what Lewin told ProPublica: The “circus element” of the exhibit booths doesn’t unduly influence attendees, Lewin said. “I don’t buy a soft drink just because of the advertising… I buy it because…

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$50K: The Price For A VIP Dinner For 2 With The Cleveland Clinic CEO

Want to have dinner with Delos Cosgrove, the cardiac surgeon who’s the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic? Just sign up for a platinum sponsorship of the Cleveland Clinic’s 2011 Medical Innovation Summit and you’ll receive an invitation “to attend the private VIP dinner hosted by Cleveland Clinic CEO & President, Delos Cosgrove, MD.” The cost…

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WebMD: the 800 Pound Gorilla in the Room

There’s been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere and twittersphere about Virginia Heffernan’s column in the New York Times magazine on Sunday comparing WebMD very unfavorably to MayoClinic.Com. Heffernan makes a fairly simple point: because of WebMD’s “(admitted) connections to pharmaceutical and other companies,” the site is “permeated with pseudomedicine and subtle misinformation.” Because…

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Blue light special: AAA screening at Kmart in the disease-mongering aisle

Now, in addition to all the other stuff  there, you can go to Kmart and get screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Some people will even receive free ultrasound tests. The new program, from the Find the AAAnswers Coalition, was announced on Friday. It’s a perfect example of disease mongering, the selling of a sickness…

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At the Dallas valve meeting even the faculty is for sale

[August 6 Update: the Industry Prospectus discussed below has been removed from the DLIV 2010 website. You can download an archived copy here.] Company banners, ads in program books, sponsored badge holders, headrests on buses with company logos– these are just a few of the commercial items to be found at medical meetings these days….

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“Is it safe?”

Is it safe? Like the Nazi dentist played by Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man, we all want an answer to the question: is it safe? And like the poor victim played by Dustin Hoffman, you can torture us as much as you want but we can’t answer the question if we don’t have the data….

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Avandia aftermath: who are the winners and losers?

Responses to the Avandia panel have been all over the map, as cleverly noted on the Wall Street Journal health blog. Avandia is “dead” (Forbes), or, perhaps worse, “now a Zombie” (BNET). By contrast, others thought the panel granted Avandia a “reprieve” (Wall Street Journal and that Avandia would now probably be allowed to stay on…

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Why was an Abbott marketing study published in the American Journal of Cardiology?

(Updated on July 7 with a lengthy quote from AJC editor William Roberts.) The authors call it “an in-office linguistic study” and write that it “was conducted to assess physician–patient discussions of mixed dyslipidemia.” But it’s really an Abbott marketing study for Niaspan, the company’s long-acting niacin product, and the question is: why is it published…

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The wealth gap: are cardiologists’ high salaries standing in the way of primary care?

High salaries for cardiologists and other specialists lead to an overwhelming lifetime advantage in wealth accumulation, according to a new study appearing in Health Affairs. That advantage may play a decisive role in the choice of medical careers, say Kevin Schulman and his colleagues in their article, “Can We Close The Income And Wealth Gap…

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Pieces of a puzzle: Multaq, Sanofi, ACC, HRS, Prystowsky, AF Guidelines

CardioBrief today dispenses with its usual format. Our post today is a puzzle. Here are the various pieces of the puzzle: Puzzle Piece 1: The commercial prospects of Multaq (dronedarone) appear increasingly cloudy, according to a news report by Jim Edwards on bnet.com. Wall Street estimates for the drug, which some had thought might reach € 3…

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Why is there a red dress on diet Coke cans?

I have a question for the NHLBI: why is there a red dress on diet Coke cans? But before raising the question, let’s step back for a moment. Last Tuesday at the ACC Bob Harrington and Steve Nissen debated each other (and, occasionally, the audience) over the subject of conflicts of interest in medicine. The…

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Braunwald: “In all fairness, what was OK three years ago is not OK now.”

A new policy from Partners Healthcare that limits compensation to doctors from industry is provoking lots of discussion (see below), at least in part because of a story in the New York Times by Duff Wilson. (Click here to read the press release Partners issued last April. Click here to read the full report.) One…

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Industry, academic researchers, and clinical trials: the slippery slope

Ed Silverman’s venerable Pharmalot blog recently posted a useful summary of some of the conflict of interest problems that come up when physicians enroll their patients in clinical trials. The basis for the article was a 62-page paper from the  Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & Policy at the Seton Hall Law School. But what…

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Sunday at the AHA: ARBITER’s wild roller coaster ride in Orlando

[Updated. See bottom of story for postscript on CNBC TV reporter Mike Huckman’s embargo break.] The early release of the ARBITER 6 trial on Sunday was a roller coaster ride in more ways than one. In addition to the drama in the newsroom at the AHA as the embargo was lifted, the hastily assembled news…

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October thought experiment: suppose the World Series were covered like the Nobel Prize

October brings the Nobel Prize announcements and the World Series. No one will mistake media coverage of one for the other. Each Nobel Prize will get one article and 10 seconds on the evening news. A soft feature will quote the new Nobel recipient’s complete surprise at the 4 AM phone call. By contrast, baseball,…

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Editor insists prasugrel ghostwriter go public

You don’t need a medium or a seance to find a ghost. All it takes is a sharp-eyed editor. According to a Reuters story by Brendan Borrell, the editor of the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy,  Frederic Curtiss, insisted that a reluctant medical writer be listed as an author on a prasugrel article. The article, “Pharmacy Benefit Spending Poised…

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Extreme cardiology culture: Califf, Harrington, Topol & Teirstein

Two new audio programs posted recently on TheHeart.Org provide a fascinating snapshot of the extremes of contemporary cardiology….

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Confessions of a repentant cardiologist

I can think of no better way to spend 15 minutes than to check out this amazing video of a recent talk given by University of Wisconsin cardiologist Jim Stein. In the talk, Stein outlines his own long road to conversion from a full-fledged, industry-supported KOL (key opinion leader) to his recent decision to refuse…

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Statins may have caused the financial breakdown, according to (completely unreliable) experts

In addition to all the good press, statins have also taken a number of hits, but a recent article may have reached a new low by blaming statins for the financial breakdown. Here is how the article, Cholesterol Contrarians Question Cult of Statins, begins: The near-breakdown of the international financial system and the deep recession…

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