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Bioethics. 2010 Jul;24(6):267-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00705.x. Epub 2009 Feb 16.

Profits and plagiarism: the case of medical ghostwriting.

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Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


This paper focuses on medical ghostwriting in the United States. I argue that medical ghostwriting often involves plagiarism and, in those cases, can be treated as an act of research misconduct by both the federal government and research institutions. I also propose several anti-ghostwriting measures, including: 1) journals should implement guarantor policies so that researchers may be better held accountable for their work; 2) research institutions and the federal government should explicitly prohibit medical ghostwriting and outline appropriate penalties; and 3) a publicly available database should be created to record researchers' ethics violations.

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