Medical Ghostwriting: A University–Sanctioned Sleight of Hand?
Aside from academic medicine, when most people hear the term “ghostwriter” they think of a paid writer who authored a speech, article, or book without credit. Over the past decade, for virtually every blockbuster medication released, there have been allegations that some of the peer-reviewed papers essential for their commercial success were ghostwritten. The most recent case revolves around two professors of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania who were accused of involvement with a ghostwritten paper on the use of the best-selling antidepressant medication, Paxil. Following the charges, the university conducted an internal investigation and, last week, announced that the professors were innocent. The most important ramification of the UPenn investigation, though, is that instead of indicating a vigilant response to ghostwriting, it (perhaps inadvertently) actually sanctions ghostwriting.
As we examined the results of the investigation, we were struck by the fact that the inves
- Healy D, Cattell D. 2003. Interface between authorship, industry and science in the domain of therapeutics. British Journal of Psychiatry [Internet], Jul 1 [cited 2011 Feb 2];183(1), 22–27. Available from: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/abstract/183/1/22
- Jureidini, J. N., McHenry, L. B., & Mansfield, P. R. 2008. Clinical trials and drug promotion: Selective reporting of study 329. Intern Journ Risk and Safety in Medicine, 20(1–2), 73–81.
- Lacasse JR, Leo J. 2010. Ghostwriting at elite academic medical centers in the United States. PLoS Medicine [Internet], Feb 2;7(2), e1000230. Available from: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.10002
- Matheson, A. 2011. How industry uses the ICMJE guidelines to manipulate authorship—and how they should be revised. PLoS Medicine [Internet], 8(8), e1001072. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001072. Available from: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001072
- Moffatt B, Elliott C. 2007. Ghost marketing: Pharmaceutical companies and ghostwritten journal articles. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine [Internet], [cited 2011 Feb 2];50(1), 18–31. Available from: http://www.webcitation.org/5wJIVyU8j
- Sismondo S. 2007. Ghost management: How much of the medical literature is shaped behind the scenes by the pharmaceutical industry? PLoS Medicine [Internet]. Sep [cited 2011 Feb 2];4(9), e286. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040286
- Medical Ghostwriting: A University–Sanctioned Sleight of Hand?
Volume 49, Issue 4 , pp 310-312
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links