Ghost writers behind scientific articles

Pharmaceutical companies pay ”ghost writers" to put their name on scientific articles, publicized as independent science. This is revealed by two British newspapers. The problem with this kind ofhidden advertising is hard to avoid, because the scientific world of publication is based on trust, says the scientific editor of the the weekly magazine.

Hundreds of scientific articles are written by ”ghost writers” paid by the pharmaceutical industry. This is revealed in the British newspapers The Observer and The Guardian. According to the two newpapers articles in scientific magazines are presented as independent science, even if the writers is paid to put their name on the articles. This way the pharmaceutical companies get hidden advertising for specificmedicines.

– It is no surprise to me that this happens, says Torben V. Schroeder, scientific editor of the (Danish) weekly magazineUgeskrift for Laeger. The two British newspapers have estimated, that almost half of all articles in the medical magazines are written by ghostwriters, and Torben V. Schroeder is shocked that the amount is so high.

The Danish Ugeskrift for Laeger is, like so many other magazines, bound to theso calledVancouver-rules, demanding that writers must sign that they have contributed to the science behind the articles, their put their name on.

– All the scientific world of publication is based on trust, and if the writers sign with their name, we can do nothing but believe them, says Torben V. Schroeder.

Source: Inge Methling, Politiken (10.12.03), 1. sektion, s. 7; Boersen (10.12.03), s. 10.

Translation by Tamara Theresa
Civil Health Rights Movement
International Committee
Rundforbivej 2, Troeroed
2950 Vedbaek