No exclusivity here! March 30, 2011 5:40 AM   Subscribe

This article in Wired seems awfully familiar.

The article cites precisely two examples for his thesis: the one which was the subject of the original post on Metafilter and the one I cited in my comments. Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia article I linked to:
In 2009, the FDA approved colchicine for gout flares, awarding Colcrys a three-year term of market exclusivity [....] URL Pharma also got 7 years market exclusivity for Colcrys in treatment of familial Mediterranean fever, under the orphan drug act.
And here's the Wired version:
URL Pharma won exclusive rights to sell colchicine as a treatment for acute gout for three years, and seven-year exclusivity to sell it for Familial Mediterranean Fever, under the Orphan Drugs Act.
posted by Joe in Australia to MetaFilter-Related at 5:40 AM (30 comments total)

Also they put a big "Slate" up at the top of the page. We're through the looking glass people!
posted by ND¢ at 5:42 AM on March 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


Relevant XKCD
posted by shii at 5:43 AM on March 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


So either the Slate writer saw the MeFi thread and found those examples useful, or the Slate writer (who says he worked at the FDA last year) somehow found out on his own about two egregious examples of drug price increases in recent months - including your example, which Wikipedia notes was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine last June.

Not sure you're on to something here.
posted by mediareport at 6:15 AM on March 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do we have a massive army of shadowy hackers that can wreak righteous digital vengeance on Wired?

No? Ok then.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:51 AM on March 30, 2011


The pitchforks! They do nothing!
posted by cashman at 6:55 AM on March 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wait, did Slate buy Wired?
posted by octothorpe at 6:56 AM on March 30, 2011


I get most my post ideas from twitter. I confess!

Even if the writer is a member here and read that thread for his inspiration I'm going to say, Who cares?

Seriously, what difference does it matter where he got the idea.

Now, if you're going to make a case that he used the commentary without attribution then I'd be on your side, but I don't see that here.

Metafilter links to things on the internet. It doesn't lay claim to them.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:29 AM on March 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was doing captioned pictures of cutesy animals years and years before anyone canned haz cheezeburgers. I want my cut!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:35 AM on March 30, 2011


Jesus Joe.
posted by clavdivs at 7:54 AM on March 30, 2011


Most of the articles in Wired seem awfully familiar.
posted by box at 8:12 AM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd sue.
posted by Eideteker at 8:17 AM on March 30, 2011


I don't see any blatant plagiarism, and even if they ripped off Metafilter's context and supporting sources, maybe we should be glad that things posted here which deserve wider attention are getting it. In this particular case, anyway, it's a net plus. Though an attribution might have been nice, I doubt it's really a violation of any kind of journalistic integrity. Seems like research was done, and maybe MetaFilter was a source. Okay, cool.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:19 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see any strong evidence of plagiarism between the Wired post and the metafilter one, but that sentence you quote from Wikipedia/Wired is pretty suspicious:

7 years market exclusivity for Colcrys in treatment of familial Mediterranean fever, under the orphan drug act.

seven-year exclusivity to sell it for Familial Mediterranean Fever, under the Orphan Drugs Act.

The structure is parallel enough that it makes me wonder whether the writer had the wikipedia page open when she/he wrote it, or had taken notes from it that he/she didn't rewrite properly later. If I had a student produce something as similar to wikipedia as that, I'd be going through the rest of their essay with a fine-toothed comb.
posted by lollusc at 8:22 AM on March 30, 2011


Can I write the letter of complaint, and does anyone have a template?
posted by phaedon at 8:23 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]



The structure is parallel enough that it makes me wonder whether the writer had the wikipedia page open when she/he wrote it, or had taken notes from it that he/she didn't rewrite properly later. If I had a student produce something as similar to wikipedia as that, I'd be going through the rest of their essay with a fine-toothed comb.


Yes, but internet journalism isn't held up to the same standards as your average undergrad. Although I would love it if somebody would stand over them with a red pen and the threat of expulsion for plagiarism, accidental or intentional. Maybe we could clean up some style, grammar and punctuation issues while we're at it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:01 AM on March 30, 2011


The amount of bullshit that "metafilter-related" is covering these days is incredibly immense.
posted by crunchland at 9:02 AM on March 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


Just remember: no one wants you to know that chemtrails started right here on MetaFilter.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:07 AM on March 30, 2011


Shouldn't we have waited for Huffington Post to repost this Slate article being misattributed to Wired before we started discussing it?
posted by hippybear at 9:37 AM on March 30, 2011


How dare they report facts without checking with Joe in Australia first!

I'm sure Wired/Slate will be sure to contact you for your cash award and fat contract very shortly.
posted by inturnaround at 10:44 AM on March 30, 2011


You mean other people can see the internet?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:50 AM on March 30, 2011


Are you serious?

Although I love reading metafilter for the occasional look at this interesting story or link to an interesting website, I think that it is above and beyond to say that we now create content, especially if we are citing Wikipedia as a reference to begin with.

First of all, if you write material at all on a drug, whether it be to train sales reps, an article for a medical journal, etc…..of course you include information such as drug indication/approval, and any special clauses. You can’t play really play with the words for that, either (drug X is indicated for X under conditions A,B, C. So reporting that piece of information is not significant at all. It almost always needs to be cited,using whatever regulatory information is available for that drug (i.e. Prescribing information for the US, SMPC in some European countries, etc.)

I don’t (and probably would not) write for a Wired audience, but if I were to do so…the places to read would be the big medical journals, especially the perspective articles (brief, 1 to 2 pages in length, and what is hot now). So as another poster states above, this was in NEJM in June 2010. Another great place to look for informationwould be FDA press releases.

I’d be more concerned if a health writer sits though perusing Wikipedia for story ideas, but as long as they do the research and find the info using valide references,who cares.
posted by Wolfster at 11:33 AM on March 30, 2011


Is this why most mefite dreams of being published don't happen? Everyone's too busy trying to find someone else plagiarizing something they might have contributed to.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:00 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I invented the debit card for the Invention Convention when I was 12. I aint never seen a nickel of that money.
posted by cmoj at 12:50 PM on March 30, 2011


Math geeks: Assuming civilization continues on, and we save all that is typed on the internet forever, how long will it take before it is entirely impossible to write a unique article about anything?
posted by Grither at 1:06 PM on March 30, 2011


I feel like 99% of the "someone stole something from MF" posts are pretty weak, including this one. No offense, but sometimes it's just a lil bit eyeroll-worthy...
posted by elpea at 1:08 PM on March 30, 2011


how long will it take before it is entirely impossible to write a unique article about anything? --- Let's see... carry the two ... minus the coefficient of ram's blood ... and a 15% gratuity ... the answer is ... last Tuesday.
posted by crunchland at 2:02 PM on March 30, 2011


Why, there's no magazine *called* "Weird", is there?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 2:07 PM on March 30, 2011


Grither - it depends on how many monkeys you have working on it.
posted by maryr at 3:26 PM on March 30, 2011


I'm happy to assume that the writer was inspired by the metafilter discussion, and that this is a fair and good thing.

Joe doesn't state whether he sees anything bad or good about it, but presumably the purpose of posting thoughts and research on publically open discussion forums is to test or spread your ideas and observations. These ones spread.

Win.

Whether one of the people inspired to spread these was on someone else's payroll at the time doesn't seem all that relevant. They're not claiming it as their original research, they're writing about known events and facts of broad interest to people.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:25 AM on March 31, 2011


Can I write the letter of complaint, and does anyone have a template?

If you're not joking, I have a template.

But I assume you are joking.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:40 AM on March 31, 2011


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