It's certainly not as exciting as an all-day golf outing or a catered lunch for the office, but a recent study highlighted by the Health News Watchdog Blog suggests that pharmaceutical companies may have yet another trick up their sleeves when it comes to influencing prescribing patterns: Funding studies for publication in medical journals, then placing high volumes of reprint requests to feather the nests of the publishers themselves.
There's no evidence of any wrongdoing, of course -- although we find it curious that no United States-based medical journal would even provide reprint data to study researchers. Only British medical journals the Lancet and BMJ participated, and BMJ published the results. We're guessing pharmaceutical companies won't be buying up too many reprints of that one.
The findings -- and you'll want to sit down for this one -- showed that pharmaceutical companies were much more likely to be the sponsors of high reprint volume articles, generating significant reprint dollars for the publishers. The study was not intended to prove publication bias existed, but the authors do suggest a little more light be shined on reprint buyers.