To wit, they tracked the Internet legal advertising during a stretch in 2006 involving Bristol-Myers Squibb's Tequin antibiotic. The med was the subject of an advance piece in The New England Journal of Medicine concerning the development of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia just two weeks after label warnings were strengthened, but 29 days before the article's full publication. The antibiotic was yanked shortly afterwards. And they tracked the Internet for lawsuit solicitations - from the day the study was accepted for publication until a year after proper publication.
"Within a week of the article's early release, about 100 Internet (sites) were identified each day. This number increased to more than 300 hits within one week of full publication in print. Following a transient decline, the manufacturer's withdrawal of the drug was associated with an additional increase in the number of hits to about 400 per day," they wrote. "...To investigate the durability of this phenomenon, we repeated the search one year following the article's early release (Mar. 1, 2007). At that time, we identified 522 websites that were soliciting personal-injury claimants."
And so they conclude: "We found that the publication of a study concerning the adverse drug events associated with (Tequin) led to a rapid, dramatic and sustained increase in Internet-based solicitation for litigants for personal-injury claims."
How does one avoid this phenomenon? It it highly unlikely this can be avoided. Besides, in the scheme of things, more information is better than less information. What one does with the info can be debated. One final note: one of the researchers disclosed that he taught a continuing medical education lecture on drug interactions for Bristol-Myers in 2005, but maintained that the content of the lecture was his own.
Hat tip to KevinMD