A forum for users of any of my texts but really for anyone interested in interpersonal communication, the fundamentals of human communication, and public speaking.
In 2003, Dr John Healy of the U of Toronto, after having seen internal drug company documents, estimated that 50% of the literature on drugs is ghost-written.http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/health/ghostwriting/Now that’s a scary thought in light of the fact that this literature is biased in favor of the drug companies and does not communicate to our doctors the serious side effects of particular drugs, including even the possibility of death. It’s true that seeing a prestigious member of their profession’s name as author of these medical journal articles gives credence to the data contained within them, just as seeing the creator of the artificial heart on television advertising Lipitor gives credence to the drug as an effective treatment for cholesterol. Yet this statin has been known to have serious side effects and should been pulled off of the market years ago. Plant extracts are equally effective in lowering cholesterol, but without adverse effects, yet our doctors know little about them. Since the problem of ghostwriting of medical articles does not appear to be going away, it’s time for the American public to stop pouring their hard earned dollars into the corporate profits of these drug companies and to start exploring alternative medicine as a way to treat their ailments. How can we trust our doctors who themselves cannot determine if an article on a particular drug is credible? Just relying on the credibility of its so-called author is obviously not sufficient in light of the practice of drug-company related medical ghostwriting.
Medical ghostwriters are just doing the job they were hired to do and, from what I've read, they are handsomely paid for their efforts. I think that, by virtue of the nature of their profession, the question of ethics never comes into play for them. For the medical professional, however, who agrees to have his/her name consigned to an article based on data he/she has never collected, seen, or analyzed, the question of ethics should be an important one.
Ghostwriting is nothing more than plagiarism in disguise and, as such, is an unethical practice.
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