Does Honesty Matter?

Evidence from a court case shows that Merck, working through Elsevier, did some fancy marketing footwork.

The Scientist, a source we read daily, broke the story, Merck published fake journal.

The company paid the publisher to create a couple of issues that appeared to be a peer-reviewed scientific publication.  Instead, it was a collection of reprints with a masthead of names from the scientific advisory board.

The Scientific Misconduct Blog has more detailed coverage.

Does it Matter?

The question for investors is whether this matters at all.  In a perfect world, scientific integrity and respect for peer review would be important.

In the actual world, we doubt that investors care.  Some may even see this as astute marketing.

It is an interesting object lesson about what matters on Wall Street.

[no position]

You may also like


  • VennData May 3, 2009  

    When political leaders don’t respect science, that lack of respect can percolate through all aspects of culture. Bush is gone, but his anti-science legacy still survives.
    Thank goodness we now have a president that states the importance of science, frequently.

  • Mark Wolfinger May 3, 2009  

    Yes it matters.
    Who cares whether investors care? How about asking doctors and patients and anyone why overpays for medicine that makes false promises. I’ll bet they care.
    The focus on money and investors is nonsense. Humanity cares and to me there is almost no punishment harsh enough to stop this behavior. How about fining the company $1 billion, the CEO losing his job, and a criminal trial for that CEO? The charge could be intentionally endangering public health.
    That’s what matters

  • Jeff Miller May 3, 2009  

    Mark and Venn — I am delighted to learn that some see this as important. I wish there were even more who took the trouble to comment.
    I was really trying to make a social and market comment, but I’m not sure that I hit the right note.

  • Mark Wolfinger May 3, 2009  

    I know that readers often fail to respond, just because it’s too much trouble.
    You raised an important issue, but let’s face facts. Truth is not valued. Making money (even when based on lies, hurting innocent people, or destroying the world’s economy) is all that seems to matter on Wall Street.

  • Mark Wolfinger May 3, 2009  

    Reading your bio, did you work with Ralph K? He and I were bridge partners for awhile in the 1970s. We were also affiliated at the CBOE.

  • Jeff Miller May 3, 2009  

    Of course, Mark. I remember you well, both from bridge and the CBOE in the late 80’s.

  • Mike C May 4, 2009  

    Does Honesty Matter?
    Yes, it does. That said, Random Roger had what I thought was a particularly relevant comment:
    I view my job as a combo of growing assets and then protecting them. That does not including solving the world’s problems. Perhaps that is an ugly answer but it is also my perception of reality.
    I’m 35 now. I’m not sure exactly when, but somewhere along the line I lost any idealism I had. I doubt I would recognize that 20-22 year old back in undergrad days. I won’t solve the world’s problems either, but I’ll try to live an ethical, honest life, but my priority is also on growing my and client’s wealth.
    Would I buy the stock of a company that I thought was engaged in deceptive behavior if I thought it could be very profitable? I don’t know, but I think I would. Just being honest. 🙂