PR/Ad Giants Are Spinning Drugs Into Gold

"Dentists leafing through The Journal of the American Dental
Association last May found a study concluding that a new
drug called Bextra offered relief from one of their
patients' worst nightmares - the acute pain that follows
dental surgery. Federal regulators had rejected that conclusion only six
months before, leaving Bextra's marketers, Pharmacia and
Pfizer, hard pressed to sell it as an advance over
Celebrex, their earlier entry in a crowded market for pain
drugs. The new study helped light a fire under Bextra. Its sales
soared 60 percent over the three months that followed ... . But the research was not conducted by academics. Instead, the lead investigators
were from Scirex, a little-known research firm owned partly
by Omnicom, one of the world's biggest advertising
companies. Madison Avenue - whose television ads have helped turn
prescription medicines like Viagra, Allegra and Vioxx into
billion-dollar products - is expanding its role in the drug
business, wading into the science of drug development. ... One
advertising executive calls it 'getting closer to the test