Did pharma ghost-write that article?

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Not in Medical Meetings, let me assure you! But this disturbing article from the online version of the Journal of General Internal Medicine (full citation: Fugh-Berman, Adriane (2005), The Corporate Coauthor. Journal of General Internal Medicine 0 (0), ???-???. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.05857.x) just goes to show that pay for play in academic journals is just the tip of the iceberg. There's a nice summary of it on Health Care Renewal:

The Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) has released early a very important article about how pharmaceutical companies infiltrate the peer-reviewed medical literature and use it as a marketing tool.

The whistle-blowing article by Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman recounts how the author was approached to serve as the front author on a manuscript already written by a "medical education company" on behalf of a pharmaceutical company. The manuscript purported to be a review ofinteractions between warfarin and herbal remedies. The manuscript was provided to Dr. Fugh-Berman in essentially complete form, with her name on the first page as first author. The pharmaceutical company that sponsored the writing of this manuscript had developed a new oral anti-coagulant, already approved for use in France, and with a New Drug Application pending before the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Presumably, the company expected that the new drug would compete with warfarin. Thus, the apparent goal of the manuscript was to disparage warfarin, the drug with which the pharmaceutical company's new product would compete.

Dr. Fugh-Berman rejected the offer from the medical education company. As luck would have it, however, the company recruited another front author, who submitted the manuscript to the Journal of General Internal Medicine, who in turn forwarded the article to Dr. Fugh-Berman as a peer-reviewer. When she recognized the manuscript for what it was, she notified the journal editors.

(Thanks to DB's Medical Rants for the pointer.)

Update: More thoughts on this from Health Care Renewal's Dr. Silverstein, including this: "Much like in politics, the "World Library Computer" formed by the Internet and its search engines makes concealing certain business activities much harder than it was in the past." He sounds fairly incensed about this, as we all should be, and makes some excellent points.

Update: In an article in the Guardian on the same topic, Dr. Fugh-Berman says this:

    Medical education companies are often hired by drug companies to put together conferences, some of which I have spoken at. Filler talks such as mine on herbs and dietary supplements act as cover for message talks that advance the sponsor's goals. "Message talks" are not obviously biased and often reference the targeted drug merely as one of several choices. The more unbiased a talk seems, the more useful it may be.

Not in Medical Meetings, let me assure you! But this disturbing article from the online version of the pay for play in academic journals is just the tip of the iceberg. There's a nice summary of it on Health Care Renewal:

The Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) has released early a very important article about how pharmaceutical companies infiltrate the peer-reviewed medical literature and use it as a marketing tool.

The whistle-blowing article by Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman recounts how the author was approached to serve as the front author on a manuscript already written by a "medical education company" on behalf of a pharmaceutical company. The manuscript purported to be a review ofinteractions between warfarin and herbal remedies. The manuscript was provided to Dr. Fugh-Berman in essentially complete form, with her name on the first page as first author. The pharmaceutical company that sponsored the writing of this manuscript had developed a new oral anti-coagulant, already approved for use in France, and with a New Drug Application pending before the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Presumably, the company expected that the new drug would compete with warfarin. Thus, the apparent goal of the manuscript was to disparage warfarin, the drug with which the pharmaceutical company's new product would compete.

Dr. Fugh-Berman rejected the offer from the medical education company. As luck would have it, however, the company recruited another front author, who submitted the manuscript to the Journal of General Internal Medicine, who in turn forwarded the article to Dr. Fugh-Berman as a peer-reviewer. When she recognized the manuscript for what it was, she notified the journal editors.

DB's Medical Rants for the pointer.)

Update: More thoughts on this from Health Care Renewal's Dr. Silverstein, including this: "Much like in politics, the "World Library Computer" formed by the Internet and its search engines makes concealing certain business activities much harder than it was in the past." He sounds fairly incensed about this, as we all should be, and makes some excellent points.

Update: In an article in the Guardian on the same topic, Dr. Fugh-Berman says this:

    Medical education companies are often hired by drug companies to put together conferences, some of which I have spoken at. Filler talks such as mine on herbs and dietary supplements act as cover for message talks that advance the sponsor's goals. "Message talks" are not obviously biased and often reference the targeted drug merely as one of several choices. The more unbiased a talk seems, the more useful it may be.

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