Ghostwritten medical journal articles - Shorts - Brief Article

Ghostwritten medical journal articles - Shorts - Brief ArticleAn article published in Britain's The Guardian says that "Ghostwriting has become widespread in such areas of medicine as cardiology and psychiatry, where drugs play a major role in treatment. Senior doctors, inevitably very busy, have become willing to 'author' papers written for them by ghostwriters paid by drug companies." In some cases, doctors have written articles from data compiled by drug company employees; the doctors never see the raw data. Authors of these papers receive thousands of dollars to give talks to other doctors at drug company-sponsored events. Most British psychiatrists get about $2,090 plus air fare and hotel accommodations while American psychiatrists received around $3,000. Some are paid as much as $10,000.

Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, found that finding a research psychiatrist who does not have financial ties to a drug company is very difficult. Government money for medical research began to lessen about the time that Prozac was put on the market. Since then, scientists have turned to pharmaceutical companies for funding. The Guardian quotes Marcia Angell as writing: '"Researchers serve as consultants to companies whose products they are studying, join advisory boards and speakers' bureaus, enter into patent and royalty arrangements... promote drugs and devices at company-sponsored symposiums, and allow themselves to be plied with expensive gifts and trips to luxurious settings...."' Thirteen journals, including NEJM and the Lancet, have denounced the drug companies' practice of limiting researchers' access to raw data from trials that the companies fund. Some journals are thinking about requiring scientists to state, in writing, that they actually wrote the paper they ha ve submitted.

Boseley, Sarah. "Scandal of scientists who take money for papers ghostwritten by drug companies." The Guardian 2002 February 7.