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Senator investigates Wyeth over ghostwritten research articles

December 15, 2008 by  

Ghostwriting has plagued the pharmaceutical sector in the pastPharmaceutical company Wyeth paid for favorable medical journal articles to be written about its hormone therapy products, according to claims by a U.S. senator.

In a letter to Wyeth, Senator Charles Grassley questioned whether the company had hired medical communications company DesignWrite to create materials about its products and then find scientists who would sign on as authors.

Grassley suggested that if such articles are published – and the amount of involvement the authors had in the articles is not made clear – the results could harm patients, doctors and taxpayers alike.

"Any attempt to manipulate the scientific literature, that can in turn mislead doctors to prescribe drugs that may not work and/or cause harm to their patients, is very troubling," he wrote.

Wyeth is currently dealing with around 8,700 legal claims from women who took their hormone replacement products, including Prempro.

Sales of the drug plummeted after a 2002 study, known as the Women’s Health Initiative, began linking hormone therapy with breast cancer.

The World Association of Medical Editors told the New York Times that not mentioning the role of a ghostwriter in medical literature is "dishonest and unacceptable."
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  • Robert Baker

    The question to ask is “Was this done to create more law suits” knowing it might be a flawed medicine

  • s c

    I sure missed this topic. The FDA and Big Pharma have an incestuous relationship, and trying to ignore that fact doesn’t do one damned thing for our health. ANYBODY who creates ‘scientific’ literature
    with a ready-made outcome should be imprisoned, have their degrees nullified (if they have any) and their names should be posted in public in every state.
    If people have to be ‘motivated’ to have a sense of ethics or common sense, then America is deeper in the toilet than I thought.

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