If you are an editor, author, reviewer, or reader of medical journals, or if you depend on your doctor or health care provider getting unbiased information from medical journals, then the 1,500 documents now hosted on the PLoS Medicine Web site should make you very concerned and angry. Because, quite simply, the story told in these documents amounts to one of the most compelling expositions ever seen of the systematic manipulation and abuse of scholarly publishing by the pharmaceutical industry and its commercial partners in their attempt to influence the health care decisions of physicians and the general public.
Further down the page:
The documents that have been made available are a substantial step forward in advancing knowledge of this practice and explaining the mechanics of how ghostwriting campaigns are organized, and will add to the evidence base. By making them easily and openly accessible we hope that others will quickly delve into the documents and analyze them in detail (we have yet not done so in the interest of speed in making them publicly available). But we also hope that the papers not only will become the subject of academic scrutiny but will help to guide the way to identifying reforms that will eventually stamp ghostwriting out. In an environment in which drug companies are beholden to their shareholders, and the drive for profit takes center stage, it is naïve to think that companies will put their own houses in order.
In other words, we may be seeing a paradigm shift when it comes to ethics and accountability. It’s too soon to know, but read the entire editorial and stop by the freely available ghostwriting archive to get a taste of what’s going on…
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- And, In Other PLoS News… « Pasco Phronesis | August 22, 2009