Monday, March 21, 2011

Hunting Ghosts

It’s hard to consider the source when the source is concealed…

Still, according to researchers such as Adriane Fugh-Berman of Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and Leemon McHenry, a medical ethicist at California State University in Northridge, the practice of industry ghostwriting persists. "Pharmaceutical and medical communication companies have just found more clever ways of concealing their activities," Fugh-Berman says.

Ghost authorship occurs when an unacknowledged author makes substantial contributions to an article that appears under the names of other scientists, who may contribute little. Accounts from court records reveal instances of pharmaceutical companies paying medical communications companies to draft articles favorable to their products, then hiring well-known academics to publish the papers under their own names without disclosing the papers' origins.

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