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NEWS ARCHIVE  
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CMAJ calls for editorial independence - 24 Feb 2006

The communities of medicine, health care and scientific publishing, in Canada and other countries worldwide have condemned the firing of the editor and deputy editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Editor Dr. John Hoey and Deputy Anne Marie Todkill were abruptly dismissed earlier this week by Graham Morris, president of CMA Media, the company that publishes the journal. The editor-publisher relationship turned sour in mid-December, when Morris barred a section of a news article that suggested pharmacists were infringing on women's privacy rights during sales of emergency contraceptive drug, Plan B. The journal agreed to Morris's demand to excise the material, but promptly carried an editorial accusing the owners of editorial interference. Hoey also called for a panel to define the lines of editorial independence and to instruct the CMA not to cross them.

Though Morris explained that the dismissals were part of a renewal process for the journal, the journal's editorial board however look upon this as a fight over editorial independence.

The editorial board of the journal is working on an online petition, hoping that response from front-line doctors, nurses and others would persuade the CMA to rethink its decision and agree to adhere to rules ensuring the independence of the journal in future.

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Journal questions Vioxx study, despite drug's removal - 24 Feb 2006

The editors of the American medical journal, New England Journal of Medicine have criticised a study sponsored by Merck & Co., Inc., US, on the arthritis drug Vioxx, and have called for a correction of the November 2000 article.

The company however stands firmly behind the propriety of the scientific analysis and presentation of data in the VIGOR publication. Merck officials and other authors of the article in separate responses to the journal reaffirmed the appropriateness of their manuscript.

The Journal's editors restated their expression of concern issued in December and alleged that the VIGOR article was based on an unsustainable trial design. They further stated that the drug did not accurately reflect the potential for serious cardiovascular toxicity. A forthcoming issue of the journal will cover the latest fight between editors and authors in an online release of letters. The plaintiffs' lawyers will use the editors' criticism that some data was withheld from publication, to substantiate their case against the company.

In September 2004, Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market after an independent safety monitoring committee notified the company that another clinical trial had detected that patients taking Vioxx are prone to higher cardiovascular risk to those taking a placebo 18 months later. The trial called APPROVE was examining whether colon polyps could be treated with Vioxx.

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Hilton Publishing launches minority health affiliate book programme - 24 Feb 2006

Minority health information publisher Hilton Publishing, US, has announced the launch of a health and wellness affiliate book programme. Through this initiative, the company seeks to bridge the gap between minority consumers and the healthcare community.

All Hilton Publishing titles will be made available to e-commerce ready Internet-based businesses and communities through the programme. Books may be sold individually at competitive rates and may include wholesale orders with low minimums, which makes the programme a promising business opportunity for Internet retailers. Strategic partnerships are already underway with the newly launched Black Writers Network and Bahiyah Woman Magazine.

To enrol in the affiliate programme, visit www.hiltonpub.com.

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Greenbranch-Coker guide for selecting EMR systems - 24 Feb 2006

Greenbranch Publishing, US, and the Coker Group, US, have announced the launch of a guide titled The Complete EMR Selection Guide edited by Jeffery Daigrepont. The 80-page research guide contains practical advice on the selection and installation of an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system for healthcare facilities.

EMR's have been found to enhance efficiencies, increase clinical quality and improve financial performance in clinical practice. The guide is claimed to be a roadmap for physicians and executives to make informed decisions with regard to EMR. It is supported by examples from practices that have already gone through the process.

The topics covered by the guide include: How to prepare your practice for an EMR; Step-by-step instructions for developing your RFP; How to motivate your physicians - and using the physician champion to your advantage; How to pay for the new technology; and How to avoid critical mistakes - the top reasons for EMR failure.

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Journal carries report on celecoxib therapy for osteoarthritis - 24 Feb 2006

The American Journal of Medicine, brought out by STM publisher Elsevier, Netherlands, has published a report in its March 2006 issue, according to which the COX-2-specific inhibitor celecoxib is as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the treatment of arthritis. However, COX-2 drugs have significantly fewer serious upper gastrointestinal side-effects than NSAIDs. But certain COX-2 inhibitors have been withdrawn from the market due to adverse effects.

Co-authored by Gurkirpal Singh, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, the report reveals the results of a multinational controlled clinical trial in patients with osteoarthritis. Presented by researchers from eight university and hospital health centres and Pfizer Inc., the trial included more than 13,000 patients from 39 countries in six continents. The patients were randomly assigned for treatment with either celecoxib or non-selective NSAID therapy for 12 weeks. Results showed that celecoxib was as effective as NSAIDs in treating the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. The most commonly reported adverse events were abdominal pain and dyspepsia, both of which were experienced by significantly more NSAID patients than celecoxib patients.

The official journal of The Association of Professors of Medicine, the American Journal of Medicine publishes peer-reviewed, original scientific studies that have direct clinical significance.

Click here to read the original press release.

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Google unveils Google Page Creator - 24 Feb 2006

Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, has announced the launch of Google Page Creator, a web-based application that allows individuals to design and publish web pages, irrespective of skill or knowledge level.

The Google Page Creator runs on any operating system and allows users to arrange texts, images or other forms of web content. It enables users to upload web pages with a single click even without the knowledge of web programming languages, such as HTML or JavaScript.

The application, available at pages.google.com, can be accessed only with a Gmail account. Users can use upto 100MB of space for their pages and uploaded files. The pages created can be crawled by Google within a few hours of publication.

However, web pages created using the new application will not receive any preferential treatment in Google search results.

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