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.