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Researcher Sheds Light On Ghostwriting In Medical Journals

Date:
April 15, 2005
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
"The pharmaceutical industry relies on ghost-written publications in peer-reviewed journals as part of their marketing plans," said Adriane Fugh-Berman. Physicians rely on information in the medical literature to make treatment decisions, so hidden sponsorship of articles and lectures at medical conferences is not only unethical, but can compromise patient care.
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FULL STORY

Washington, DC -- In a commentary titled “The Corporate Coauthor” published online by the Journal of General Internal Medicine on April 14, Adriane Fugh-Berman M.D., adjunct associate professor of physiology and biophysics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, recounts her experience of being asked to “author” a ghost-written article funded by a pharmaceutical company. Fugh-Berman declined, and penned a commentary about her experience for JGIM instead.

“The pharmaceutical industry relies on ghost-written publications in peer-reviewed journals as part of their marketing plans,” said Fugh-Berman. “Physicians rely on information in the medical literature to make treatment decisions, so hidden sponsorship of articles—and lectures at medical conferences—is not only unethical, but can compromise patient care.”

In her commentary, Dr. Fugh-Berman reports that she was approached by a medical education company working for a well-known pharmaceutical manufacturer. The company asked her to lend her name as “author” to a completed manuscript that reviewed herb-warfarin interactions. The pharmaceutical manufacturer was developing a competitor to warfarin and had apparently commissioned the article to highlight problems with warfarin.

Fugh-Berman says that the true sponsorship of articles is often fuzzy because pharmaceutical companies hire medical education companies to act as intermediaries with researchers. She says that the current voluntary standards for declaring conflicts of interest to readers of medical journals and audiences at medical conferences are inadequate, and that a public database detailing physicians’ and researchers’ conflicts of interest is needed.

The full commentary, as it appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, is available here.

Dr. Fugh-Berman, a general practitioner who is the author of a reference text, The 5-Minute Herb and Dietary Supplement Consult (Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins 2003), teaches in the Georgetown University School of Medicine’s complementary and alternative medicine master’s degree program. Based in the department of physiology and biophysics, it is the first degree-granting master's program in complementary and alternative medicine in the United States. Dr. Fugh-Berman’s research focuses on herbs and dietary supplements, women's health, the assessment of benefits and risks in alternative medicine and conventional medicine, and influences on physician prescribing. She has published articles in medical journals including The Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, Reproductive Toxicology, and Experimental Biology and Medicine.

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Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis—or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, and the world renowned Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Georgetown University Medical Center. "Researcher Sheds Light On Ghostwriting In Medical Journals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050414201152.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2005, April 15). Researcher Sheds Light On Ghostwriting In Medical Journals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050414201152.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Researcher Sheds Light On Ghostwriting In Medical Journals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050414201152.htm (accessed September 2, 2015).

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