The Widely Spread Medical Ghostwriting In The Pharmaceutical IndustryPerfect Medico
There is increasing frustration among medical editors with top researchers who sign their names to manuscripts but fail to disclose the contributions of ghostwriters employed by pharmaceutical companies. One tech-savvy editor has been using data forensics worthy of a crime drama to investigate the practice of ghostwriting in the medical industry – widely viewed as unethical by many.
It is not uncommon to find such authors. In research studies published in leading medical journals, 12 percent of authors did not give credit to contributors, according to a survey presented this week at the Sixth International Congress of Peer Review and Biomedical Publication in Vancouver. Additionally, some authors have financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, and critics complain that the resulting papers interpret data about those companies’ drugs more favorably.
Medical Ghostwriters Hardly Receive Credits For Their Contributions
Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, Frederick Curtiss, says that he has discovered undisclosed contributors to documents attached by Word. When he examined the metadata of a manuscript that arrived at his office with four named contributors, he discovered that an additional author had made substantial contributions.
The editorial policies of every medical journal differ, and Curtiss claims his journal has one of the strictest editorial policies around. Any author contributing more than 1% to the manuscript should be disclosed, and those contributing more than 25% of the manuscript should be listed as authors. Disclosure does not change or improve the quality of the evidence, Curtiss says, but it is critical to a reader’s ability to interpret the research, so it must be accurate and complete.
He has discussed improving the disclosure statements at every editorial meeting he has attended over the past eight years. It has long been the requirement that authors submit a list of all the contributors to the research. However, in the last two years, these statements have added a seemingly redundant question requiring authors to explicitly certify that “every contributor” to the research has been identified.
How Widespread Is It?
Medical ghostwriters seldom receive credits for their valuable contributions in medical publications But, despite their invaluable contributions to the field, their names are often omitted from the published papers. It has been estimated that over half of the authors of medical papers were not identified as medical writers.
However, there may be a few instances where concealing the identity of the true author of a publication may become necessary. This includes receiving unjust profits and evading responsibility for errors. Although it is believed that medical ghostwriters are often doctors, not much is known about them.
Medical ghostwriting is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry to promote the sales of drugs, according to new research conducted by researchers from The University of Sydney and the University of Copenhagen. The companies pay an outside company to draft a paper under the name of a doctor and then invite the doctor to sign it as the author.
Several problems with this practice have been identified: it is unclear whether the doctor actually participated in writing the manuscript, how much he contributed, and what role the company had in its preparation. Moreover, no information is available on whether or not there were other contributors that were not acknowledged.