, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 310-312
Date: 31 May 2012

Medical Ghostwriting: A University–Sanctioned Sleight of Hand?

This is an excerpt from the content

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

Leo and Lacasse have published several articles on medical ghostwriting and the chemical imbalance theory of depression.