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Avery important, in the same time frustrating article on ghostwriting in medical journals in Plos-Medcine.

That’s not funny at all.

Let’s post the summary points:

” * Some 1500 documents revealed in litigation provide unprecedented insights into how pharmaceutical companies promote drugs, including the use of vendors to produce ghostwritten manuscripts and place them into medical journals.

* Dozens of ghostwritten reviews and commentaries published in medical journals and supplements were used to promote unproven benefits and downplay harms of menopausal hormone therapy (HT), and to cast raloxifene and other competing therapies in a negative light.

* Specifically, the pharmaceutical company Wyeth used ghostwritten articles to mitigate the perceived risks of breast cancer associated with HT, to defend the unsupported cardiovascular “benefits” of HT, and to promote off-label, unproven uses of HT such as the prevention of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, vision problems, and wrinkles.

* Given the growing evidence that ghostwriting has been used to promote HT and other highly promoted drugs, the medical profession must take steps to ensure that prescribers renounce participation in ghostwriting, and to ensure that unscrupulous relationships between industry and academia are avoided rather than courted.”

Cited by: Fugh-Berman AJ (2010) The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold “HRT”. PLoS Med 7(9): e1000335. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000335

And there’s a german summarizing article on this topic: Heise-artikel, in german

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