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Prescrire Int. 2013 Dec;22(144):304, 306-7.

Publication planning: an effective corporate strategy to influence health professionals.

[No authors listed]

Abstract

Pharmaceutical companies integrate scientific publications into the communication strategies they employ to influence the practices of health professionals. In their"publication plan", pharmaceutical companies, or the communication agencies they hire, develop key messages to promote their drugs and then plan in advance how, when and where to disseminate them in medical journals or at conferences. Although their true intent is promotional, these messages must appear to be purely scientific, and are therefore disseminated as research articles, review articles, editorials, commentaries. Publication planning involves the use of "ghost" authors who work directly for pharmaceutical companies, but whose contribution is rarely acknowledged in the final published article. Key opinion leaders are recruited as the honorary authors of these articles, to which they have made little, if any, contribution. The criteria for authorship set by journals that publish primary research articles do not provide adequate protection against the practice of ghost and honorary authorship. Certain journals publishing primary research derive a large proportion of their revenue from selling reprints used by pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs, especially by their sales representatives.

PMID:
24600737
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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