06/08/2005 11:36 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Embarrassing Lack Of Medical Ethics Times Three

This week’s “New England Journal of Medicine,” arguably the most prestigious medical journal in America, has an article and an editorial about a new shingles vaccine for adults. Shingles most commonly occurs when the chicken pox vaccine is reactivated in older adults. It is painful but rarely dangerous.

The editorial supporting the vaccine’s use is written by Dr. Ann Arvin.

Merck, the vaccine’s manufacturer, supplied almost all the funding for the $30 million study.

In very small print at the end of the editorial, is the line “Dr. Arvin reports having received consultation fees from Merck." (Dr. Arvin also received funding and actually performed and published the original studies of this vaccine!)

The vaccine is reported to be “14-44 times stronger” than the original chickenpox vaccine.

The manufacturer funded the study of a vaccine against an illness and the NEJM allowed a consultant to that same pharmaceutical company to write an article praising the vaccine.

Somebody should be embarrassed. Nope