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Saturday, September 26, 2009

There's an excellent article in the Guardian about a bone expert at Sheffield Uni who faces action over claims of ghostwriting for a US drug company

Excellent Guardian article by Sarah Boseley about a UK doctor (Professor Richard Eastell, a bone expert at Sheffield University) who is facing action over claims of 'ghost writing' for a US drug company. The article is also about the prevalence of ghost-written medical articles in order to profit drug companies.

It's good to see Tim Kendall, joint director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, speaking out on the matter, and saying that the problem is the close relationship between doctors and the industry.

Extract from the article: "Ghost writing was one manifestation of a bigger problem which he believed was the institutional bias of doctors who work closely with and for drug companies. "In mental health 85% of all published trials are funded by the drug industry," he said. Allowing for the unsuccessful trials the industry does not publish, the figure is probably nearer 95%, he said. Studies have shown that drug company-funded trials are five times more likely to come out with a positive result for the drug than independent trials."

Others criticise the GMC for its leniency towards doctors involved in dubious research practices.

Look at this startling and scandalous fact: A study of 4,000 physicians found that 96% received money from drug companies, and yet "the majority did not see it as a conflict of interest."

Doctors fall over themselves in their eagerness to preen themselves about their scholarly articles being 'peer-reviewed' and therefore worthy of respect not to be accorded to writings by lay people who have studied matters usually thought of as the sphere of the professionals only. - But what respect or even credence should be accorded ghost-written articles based on false data, false claims and false evidence, falsely by-lined by corrupt medics motivated by greed? - My question is rhetorical, of course. No respect whatever should be accorded to these junk articles, written about junk pharmaceuticals, by medics who dishonour their high calling.