Pharma companies ‘hoodwinking’ medical journals

Health: Revealed: how drug firms ‘hoodwink’ medical journals (Observer) — an
amazing attempt to mislead scientific progress for short-term commercial gain. (via forteana):

Hundreds of articles in medical journals claiming to be written by academics or doctors have been penned by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies, an Observer inquiry reveals. The journals, bibles of the profession, have huge influence on which drugs doctors prescribe and the treatment hospitals provide. …

Estimates suggest that almost half of all articles published in journals are by ghostwriters. While doctors who have put their names to the papers can be paid handsomely for ‘lending’ their reputations, the ghostwriters remain hidden. They, and the involvement of the pharmaceutical firms, are rarely revealed. …

(One) email, seen by The Observer, said: ‘In order to reduce your workload to a minimum, we have had our ghostwriter produce a first draft based on your published work. I attach it here.’ The article was a 12-page review paper ready to be presented at an forthcoming conference. Healy’s name appeared as the sole author, even though he had never seen a single word of it before. But he was unhappy with the glowing review of the drug in question, so he suggested some changes. The company replied, saying he had missed some ‘commercially important’ points. In the end, the ghostwritten paper appeared at the conference and in a psychiatric journal in its original form – under another doctor’s name.

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