JAMA lambastes Vioxx publishing practices

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The Journal of the American Medical Association called into question published clinical data and authorship surrounding Merck's Vioxx (rofecoxib) in a scathing editorial. 

The hubbub stems from two articles printed in the April 16 issue, which offer a microscopic look at documents obtained during Vioxx lawsuits and litigation.

JAMA asserts that the articles “illustrate that clinical trial articles and review articles related to rofecoxib frequently were written by unacknowledged authors who were employees of for-profit information industries, and often attributed first (or primary) authorship to academically affiliated investigators who either had little to do with the study or review or who did not disclose financial support from the company.”

Merck refuted the charges in a statement claiming that the JAMA reports related to Vioxx “are false, misleading or lack context.”

“The articles are based on analyses of documents conducted by consultants hired by trial lawyers as part of their work in the Vioxx product liability litigation, and make allegations similar to those previously advanced by these consultants and related attorneys at trial,” the Merck statement read. 

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