A study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine claims that the drug modafinil, marketed as Provigil, can improve the wakefulness and performance of nighttime employees. But an editorial by another researcher in the same journal says the treatment is "little better than nothing."
The Wall Street Journal reports that last year, doctors wrote 1.9 million prescriptions for the drug, which generated $414 million in sales. The newspaper says, "The debate within the pages of the prestigious medical journal raises renewed questions over the reliability of research sponsored by drug companies. The study's lead author is Charles A. Czeisler, chief of the sleep medicine division at Harvard Medical School; his professorship is endowed by Cephalon for $2 million." Cephalon makes Provigil.