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Merck, Schering-Plough Spent Big on Medical Education | cialis online

Merck, Schering-Plough Spent Big on Medical Education

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A report says Vytorin makers Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough  spent $60 million to fund medical education courses over the  past four years.  According to The Wall Street Journal,  the drug makers made the payments to a small group of medical schools and health groups, including Harvard University and the American Heart Association.

The Merck and Schering-Plough Continuing Medical Education (CME) funding was disclosed in a report released by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. “These documents remove any doubt that, at least in this case, when drug companies fund continuing medical education, they see it as money well spent on marketing their latest blockbuster drug,” said Sen. Herb Kohl, D-WI, chairman of the Special Committee.

The CME courses Merck and Schering-Plough funded focused on treatment options for heart disease.  According to the Journal, the company’s cholesterol drug, Vytorin, has  been cited by some in Congress as an example of why there needs to be more transparency regarding the medical industry’s financial relationship with doctors, medical schools and medical groups.

Vytorin’s supposed benefits have been the subject of controversy since the ENHANCE study was released in January 2008. ENHANCE found that the drug was no better than a cheaper, generic statin in preventing clogged arteries, and raised serious questions about the effectiveness of  Vytorin. What’s more, Merck and Schering-Plough delayed releasing ENHANCE for more than a year, even though the trial was actually completed in 2006.

Several committees in Congress are investigating Vytorin marketing efforts. Kohl, along with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R.-Iowa, has bee pushing for language in Senate health-care legislation to require companies to disclose such payments, the Journal said.

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