[Foundation-l] Paid editing, was Re: Ban and moderate

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 24 01:34:58 UTC 2010

--- On Sat, 23/10/10, SlimVirgin <slimvirgin at gmail.com> wrote:
> Someone working for the company that makes Lipitor would try to stop
> mainstream media sources being used in the article, because it's the
> media that has been pointing out problems with these drugs. And that's
> exactly what happens on these articles, but it's unfortunately
> Wikipedians who are doing it. Their motives are good -- to keep out
> nonsense -- but the effect is to turn those articles into something
> the manufacturers and their PR people would be very happy with.
> Look at our article -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atorvastatin There
> is criticism, no mention of how much money the drug is making for the
> company, no mention of how widespread and unquestioned the prescription 
> of these drugs is. And I know from experience at another
> statin article that it would be very difficult to add this material.
> Some examples of the criticism available in the media, which you
> almost certainly won't find on Wikipedia:
> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/4974840/Wonder-drug-that-stole-my-memory.html
> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/5257744/Statins-life-saving-wonder-drugs-or-just-life-damaging.html
> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/expathealth/4204363/The-worrying-wonder-drug.html
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2498489.stm
> Sarah

To be sure, information on side effects can be found in the scholarly literature. This is usually where the press gets it from.

Enter simvastatin + "memory loss" in google scholar, and you get 1,950 (!) hits, including this study from 2001:


"Statin-associated memory loss: analysis of 60 case reports and review of the literature" (2003) has 130 scholarly citations, providing ample justification to include the study's findings in the relevant article(s).


As far as reporting of such scientific results is concerned, scholarly sources are preferable. 

What the media add, as in the BBC article you linked, is the socio-economic, current-affairs angle -- pointing out the economies involved, the millions and billions that pharmaceutical companies make off these drugs, and the promotional and propaganda efforts that this necessarily entails. 

That is something clinical studies will not address. Articles on such products need something like a "reception" section. Media articles are indispensable for that. 

WP:MEDRS specifically allows the use of media sources for such purposes. If editors edit-war this information out, it needs to go to a noticeboard, or to arbitration.



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