"One of the features of a seeding trial," said Annals editor Harold Sox in an e-mail interview, "is that its scientific value to society at large is low relative to the risks that patients take when they agree to participate."
2008).) Quoting Merck employees in internal documents calling ADVANTAGE a seeding trial and detailing its origins in the company's marketing division, the researchers concluded that the clinical trial "was actually a sophisticated marketing tool designed to allow optimal 'seeding' of positive experiences with Vioxx among customers--primary care physicians--before its approval." They also noted that this purpose was hidden from participants, investigators, and institutional review board members.
In what the editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine called the first "documentary evidence that proves the existence of seeding trials," a study in that journal's August 19 issue showed how a clinical trial of Vioxx, called ADVANTAGE, was created not to answer scientific questions but to market the drug and increase prescriptions.
Additional benefits of such transparency would be the probable cessation of "seeding trials
," which characteristically attempt to introduce concepts or interventions, as opposed to testing scientific hypotheses, and may include commercial interests and "motivational" features for participation.