Medical Ghostwriting

Medical Ghostwriting

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted September 11, 2009 in Jobs Involving DNA

Guess I won’t be making this my next career move….ghost

In the scientific literature, ghostwriting usually refers to medical writers, often sponsored by a drug or medical device company, who make major research or writing contributions to articles published under the names of academic authors.

The concern, the researchers said, is that the work of industry-sponsored writers has the potential to introduce bias, affecting treatment decisions by doctors and, ultimately, patient care.

Ghostwriting Widespread in Medical Journals, Study Says –

In February 2009, PLoS Medicine featured a debate on the same topic:

What should be done to tackle ghostwriting in the medical literature?

Given that I’ve lived in Asia for most of the past 10 years (with the exception of 2+ years in the UK), I know firsthand how important ghostwriters and editors are for researchers whose first language is not English. I don’t think the issue is whether ghostwriters or medical writers should or should not be allowed to help researchers formulate grammatical sentences and put together coherent papers. Ethical issues arise when the ghostwriters are paid for by pharmaceutical companies or others with a vested interest in seeing particular results. Therefore, the requirement that authors declare competing interests should be adequate disclosure that applies to all listed in the paper where case ghost/medical writers could be listed in the acknowledgements.

Maybe I’ll keep my options open after all….

via The Tree of Life



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Comment by Lisa

Lisa, Paying the bills is very important!

Comment by Jhay

Disclosure is good enough and hopefully, the scientific and medical community will police their own.

Thanks for the comment, Jhay. This study shows that while the medical and science communities are trying to self-police, ghostwriting as sponsored by drug companies and others with vested interests is still happening.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

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