March 2nd, 2011
Free Med Journals Are More Likely To Hype Drugs
Those free medical journals - which are sent at no cost to doctors and are financed by pharma ads - are much more likely to recommend drugs that are mentioned in its pages than journals that are funded by subscription fees, according to a new study. Consequently, some physicians may not readily notice any possible bias as they go about absorbing information needed for patient care.
The researchers identified 11 German educational medical journals from 2007 that are widely read by general practitioners. And these were divided into types according to revenue sources: free journals financed completely by paid ads; mixed-revenue journals that charge readers and also take paid advertising, and subscription-based journals that are completely financed by readers. They then selected nine drugs or drug classes, including ACE inhibitors; Merck’s Zetia cholesterol pill; the Plavix bloodthinner; and the glitazone group of diabetes meds, such as Avandia and Actos.