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Wyeth

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Freelance journalist Martha Rosenberg recently made an interesting comparison between embattled drug giant Wyeth and former insurance giant AIG. The latter famously handed out massive bonuses and planned lavish company retreats at a time when the company was receiving billions in federal bailout funds.

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In June 2002, Dr. David F. Archer had a paper published under his name that reassured women everywhere that they could take antibiotics and birth control pills at the same time and not worry about pregnancy. The article was music to the ears of executives at Wyeth, the drug company giant.

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It’s not as seductive as a candlelit bedroom.

But a dinner with medical colleagues after a board meeting can exert a powerful a pull on talented scientists flirting with the drug industry. Rarely one-on-ones, these dinners are usually threesomes:

1. The seducer: a representative for a medical communications company that has been hired by a drug company to help market a particular product or disease in need of new cures being cooked up by the company.

2. The object of seduction: a researcher with known expertise in the company’s target area.

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Putting together a scientific research paper should be a different process than building a Ford Taurus or making a Big Mac.

For the drug companies and their ghostwriting partners, it isn’t.

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Have you ever worked on a story where you knew that you were just one source away from a blockbuster? But you could never find that one great document that spelled out the connections or that one repentant insider willing to walk you through the corporate crime, government malfeasance or law enforcement deceit.

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Career archivist Kim Klausner takes her roles as a historian and as a public health advocate equally seriously. As the Industry Documents Digital Libraries Manager for the University of California-San Francisco, she is in charge of the Drug Industry Documents Archive, a collection of thousands of records that shine a light on practices by Wyeth, Pfizer, Abbott and other Big Pharma companies.

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Antidote promised in an earlier post to revisit the case of Dr. John Eden, who told Antidote he regretted working with a ghostwriter who had been paid by Wyeth to write an article about hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

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Thomas Sullivan writes the Policy and Medicine blog. He also runs Rockpointe Corporation, a medical education company that works with nonprofits and for-profits to create continuing medical education (CME) programs. As company-sponsored CME and ghostwriting by companies has come under fire, Sullivan has become an outspoken advocate for medical education firms.

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Thomas Sullivan founded Rockpointe Corporation, a medical education company in 1995. Since then, the company has had success creating continuing medical education materials with funding from big drug company clients and nonprofit groups such as the American Heart Association. On his blog, Sullivan and Dr.

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Even in his infamy, Dr. Daniel Carlat, founder of The Carlat Psychiatry Report, is popular with drug companies. Carlat was invited recently by Schering-Plough to help promote a new drug.

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