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Merck

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The makers of popular drugs like Advair, Cymbalta, Viagra and Zoloft have physicians, psychiatrists, and medical school faculty members across California on their payrolls. Does this influence prescribing patterns?

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Cartoon animals selling drugs, insurance premiums to be paid back, drinking during pregnancy, antibiotic-free meat and more from our Daily Briefing.

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Bioethicist Leigh Turner, recently under fire from a stem cell company he criticized for ethical problems, talks about his research on medical tourism.

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I wrote a piece recently for Health News Review about conflicts of interest. The original post is below, followed by more great examples of writers describing unexpected conflicts in detail.

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Today's news roundup features the good and the bad in the fight against AIDS, health questions about food in cans, and a book for your long weekend. The Daily Briefing will go offline until Monday, so we sign off with some (health-related) Thanksgiving reads.

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A pharma insider offers some strict rules for medical researchers to avoid pharma ghostwriting and other conflicts of interest in their work — and help save the reputation of medical science.

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Everyone could benefit from taking cholesterol-lowering statins. Who wants gunk clogging up their arteries, right? And even if your cholesterol is already low, you may gain some wonderful side benefit.

That is the overwhelming message driven home by a combination of marketing campaigns and overly enthusiastic health reporting.

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If you have ever suffered from serious, ongoing pain (RSI, anyone?) you know the desire to take something, anything, to make it go away. What if you were told that you may have a risk as high as 2% of developing heart problems as a result of the painkiller? Would that stop you? And what if you were told that your risk without the drugs was 1%? Would that make you any more likely to start taking the pills?

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Until the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the recall of Vioxx seemed to be the biggest corporate disaster of the new millennium.

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Antidote proposed on Friday that medical and science journal editors do more than talk tough about conflicts of interest in their journals.

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