An analysis of Merck internal documents concluded that the pharmaceutical company carried out a clinical study of Vioxx in 1999, "primarily to support a marketing campaign before the drug's launch." Merck stated that the study was done "to test side effects of the painkiller Vioxx," which was pulled from the market in 2004, after being linked to an increased risk of heart attacks.
As more newspapers and other media outlets cut staff, public relations and advertising make gains. The Minnesota-based firm ARAnet provides "free print and Web content. ... More than 65 of the nation's top 100 newspapers, including the Star Tribune, use" ARAnet content, which "carries client messages." ARAnet president Scott Severson says his firm provides "high-quality consumer content" that "just happen[s] to be underwritten by our clients." ARAnet clients pay $4,500 for content creation, tracking and reporting; media outlets use it for free.
BP North America recently launched "its first full-scale lifestyle effort," to promote its new gas with "Invigorate." Unlike a traditional product launch, which "simply discusses gas," BP's "Younger for Longer" campaign will compare its new gas formula to older athletes.
According to a survey of 252 U.S. chief marketing officers, nearly one in five "say their organizations have bought advertising in return for a news story." The survey was conducted on behalf of the public relations firm Manning, Selvage & Lee (MSL) and the trade publication PR Week (which doesn't appear to have reported on the results).
"The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, a recently created front group for pharmaceutical interests, has been churning out industry-funded propaganda that demonizes evidence-based medicine, universal health care, the government, and all critics of pharma while attempting to portray industry as a selfless provider of cures and education," write Norman Kelley and Adriane Fugh-Berman.