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Mens Sana Monogr. 2010 Jan;8(1):129-45. doi: 10.4103/0973-1229.58824.

Of sophists and spin-doctors: industry-sponsored ghostwriting and the crisis of academic medicine.

Author information

1
Lecturer in Philosophy, California State University, Northridge, USA.

Abstract

Ghostwriting for medical journals has become a major, but largely invisible, factor contributing to the problem of credibility in academic medicine. In this paper I argue that the pharmaceutical marketing objectives and use of medical communication firms in the production of ghostwritten articles constitute a new form of sophistry. After identifying three distinct types of medical ghostwriting, I survey the known cases of ghostwriting in the literature and explain the harm done to academic medicine and to patients. Finally, I outline steps to address the problem and restore the integrity of the medical literature.

KEYWORDS:

Academic Medicine; Ghostwriting; Key Opinion Leader; Medical Education and Communication Companies; Pharmaceutical Industry; Publications Strategy; Sophists

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