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Elsevier: ‘fake journals were unacceptable’

Elsevier yesterday said the “fake journal” it published, which came to light in an Australian court case over the drug Vioxx, was one of a series. The publishing company admitted publishing five other “sponsored article compilation publications … that were made to look like journals and lacked the proper disclosures”.

The look-alike journals were funded by pharmaceutical clients including Merck, which is under investigation in the Australian court for improperly marketing drugs including Vioxx (see our previous coverage of the allegations and of Merck’s defence.).

The CEO of Elsevier’s Health Sciences Division, Michael Hansen, said:

This was an unacceptable practice, and we regret that it took place.

We are currently conducting an internal review but believe this was an isolated practice from a past period in time. It does not reflect the way we operate today. The individuals involved in the project have long since left the company.

Elsevier published six such journals, according to The Scientist. Hansen added that Elsevier has “strict disclosure rules in place so that readers are aware of any financial interests behind a specific article or journal, or when entire compilation products are created for pharmaceutical marketing purposes”.

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