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The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold “HRT”

  • Adriane J. Fugh-Berman mail

    ajf29@georgetown.edu

    Affiliation: Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C., United States of America

    X
  • Published: September 07, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000335
  • Featured in PLOS Collections

Reader Comments (8)

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Don't senior researchers write papers?

Posted by peterbyass on 09 Sep 2010 at 11:21 GMT

This query was in response to an e-mail from Karen Mittleman (a DesignWrite employee who supervised medical writers) that stated: “The beauty of this process is that we become your postdocs! … We provide you with an outline that you review and suggest changes to. We then develop a draft from the final outline. You have complete editorial control of the paper, but we provide you with the materials to review/critique”
http://plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000335#article1.body1.sec5.p1

In some ways the underlying assumption here - that senior researchers don't write their own papers anyway but rely on post-docs - is even worse than the ghostwriting saga itself! If it is really true that some senior researchers don't do a lot of their own research, analysis and writing, perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised that opportunities for ghostwriting have occurred.

Competing interests declared: PLoS Med Editorial Board

RE: Don't senior researchers write papers?

sallysmithers replied to peterbyass on 09 Sep 2010 at 22:22 GMT

How can a drug company pay writers to write what they themselves dictate to be written and how is this legal? The drug company in this case wrote their own peer review research and paid professors and so called experts to enhance the approval of this drug? This is fraud and the researchers that knew this was happening are liable under law. That is why we have laws to prevent fraud and this was quite clearly a crime. Many women took this drug only to receive the side effect of breast cancer and those responsible should be in jail.

No competing interests declared.