First a ghost writing offer. Now I’ve been a little skeptical of all these claims about journal articles ghost written by pharmaceutical companies. I’ve never seen a specific article cited and verified as ghost written. (I’m from Missouri and would still like for some one to “show me” by citing a ghost written article!). But now the WSJ Health Blog reports on an offer by a pharmaceutical consulting firm to ghost write an abstract for a big name in hypertension, Jean Shealey. She declined. One of the Health Blog commenters wrote:
So, this is some new revelation for the WSJ?
There are plenty of studies in the medical literature which have been ghost written by an industry-sponsored medical writer, that was then submitted under the name of a highly-recognizable leader in the field–always at a steep price.
To which I say: documentation, please!
H/T to Kevin M.D.
Then there’s this update (via Medscape/Heartwire) on GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) applying pressure to silence Dr. John Buse, a diabetes expert who raised early concerns about the cardiovascular safety of rosiglitazone (Avandia). California Medicine Man discusses it here. The full report of the Senate Committee on Finance is here. Suppression of debate does not serve the cause of science.
The pharmaceutical industry has interests in common with those of the medical profession, but abuses exist. Our profession can collaborate with industry to the benefit of patients, but doctors need to aware of the possibility of abuse, and to be skeptical.