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Challenging Medical Ghostwriting in US Courts

  • Xavier Bosch mail,

    xavbosch@clinic.ub.es

    Affiliation: Department of Internal Medicine at the Hospital Clínic and the Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pí i Sunyer, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

    X
  • Bijan Esfandiari,

    Affiliation: Law Firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

    X
  • Leemon McHenry

    Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, California State University, Northridge, California, United States of America

    X
  • Published: January 24, 2012
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001163
  • Featured in PLOS Collections

Reader Comments (6)

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Guest authors should also be held accountable

Posted by KarenShashok on 25 Jan 2012 at 11:31 GMT

A better title for this article might be "Challenging medical ghostwriting and guest authorship in US courts". Bosch et al. devote as much of the article to the responsibilities and potential liabilities of guest authors as they do to ghostwriting, so mentioning only ghostwriting in the title is potentially misleading.

Disappointingly, the many efforts being made within the medical writing profession to stop ghostwriting are overlooked (again!).

But a very positive contribution is the emphasis on guest authors' responsibilities as KOLs who benefit directly from adding their name (reputation and authority) to material developed with the intention of promoting sales.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Guest authors should also be held accountable

XavierBosch replied to KarenShashok on 25 Jan 2012 at 19:20 GMT

I don't think the title is misleading. Medical ghostwriting is implicitly linked to guest authorship.

Medical writers have made clear their position against the practice--ithey are just doing their job.

No competing interests declared.

RE: RE: Guest authors should also be held accountable

KarenShashok replied to XavierBosch on 26 Jan 2012 at 10:03 GMT

The role of guest authors appears to be much less well known and much less well covered by most people who have written about the problem, so the emphasis on guests in addition to ghosts is a very positive feature of the article.

Not sure it's clear what you mean by your second sentence. Medical writers have been involved for years in efforts to improve how contributors to articles written by medical writers are acknowledged. Both AMWA and EMWA developed codes of conduct, and medical writers were also among the authors of the Good Publication Practices guidelines.

(I am a freelance translator, author's editor and editorial consultant, but not a medical writer.)

No competing interests declared.

RE: RE: RE: Guest authors should also be held accountable

XavierBosch replied to KarenShashok on 26 Jan 2012 at 12:03 GMT

I mean medical writers/editors who write these articles are doing it in good faith, while their position about being acknowledged in the article in question is clear and positive.

Although others argue that they should be credited as authors, I agree that the most important thing is transparency, ie, not concealing their contribution.

No competing interests declared.