The reputation of the pharmaceuticals sector took another knock
this week as editors of a dozen medical journals accused drug firms of
distorting scientific research for profit.
For pharma firms, without whose work drugs would come on the market less
regularly and less effectively, this is a terrible slur. Communicating
the value of their work has become all the more important as they strive
to prevent journal editors from undermining consumer confidence.
It is increasingly difficult to keep consumers aware of real
developments in ethical drugs. But the actions of the medical editors
have created an atmosphere of mistrust which is not only unnecessary -
since despite obeying the profit motive, drug companies do much that is
good - but is also less likely to promote clear communication between
the spokesmen for drug suppliers and the media outlets on which they
depend for coverage of innovations.