Merck paid an undisclosed sum to Elsevier to produce several volumes of a publication that had the look of a peer-reviewed medical journal, but contained only reprinted or summarised articles–most of which presented data favourable to Merck products–that appeared to act solely as marketing tools with no disclosure of company sponsorship. The role of journals in publishing papers is an enshrined element of scientific information transfer. They are not however, immune from the financial incentives offered by companies with a profit motive, neither are some of the authors. This is an unusual demonstration of an entire journal being sponsored (although not declared) by Merck and whilst the journal may have some acceptable articles, this practice undermines the concept of independence and places more pressure on the scientific community to contribute to the management of fair and reasonable publications.
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