via Tenured Radical. Fellow Cornellian Sergio Sismondo, a Philosophy Professor at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, has an excellent new article in the online journal Academic Matters. I heard Sergio give an earlier version of this research at a conference we attended at Oxford a few years ago. He suggests that the relationship between Big Pharma, physicians, and major academic journals is “too close for comfort” or patient safety for that matter. Sergio describes what he calls the “ghost management” of scientific publications by Big Pharma:
“Pharmaceutical companies sponsor a considerable amount of research, typically performed by for-profit contract research organizations (CROs). On the basis of that data and the publicly available medical research, drug companies and their agents produce a significant percentage of the manuscripts on major current drugs. These manuscripts are then “authored” by academic researchers, whose contribution ranges from having supplied some of the patients for a clinical trial, to editing the manuscript, to simply signing off on the final draft. The companies then submit these manuscripts to medical journals, where they fare quite well and are published. The published articles contribute to accepted scientific opinions, but the circumstances of their production remain largely invisible. When the articles are useful, the marketing departments of the drug companies involved will buy thousands of reprints, which sales representatives (reps) can give to physicians.”
This is even worse than the free lunches, “retreats,” and swag the reps hand out — at least those are transparent attempts to buy business. So much for “evidence-based medicine.”
Sergio’s research suggests that as much as 40 percent of medical journal articles on major drugs is ghost managed. He argues that the pharmaceutical companies have developed a “new form of plagiarism” with the willing participation of professors eager to expand their list of publications.
University P&T committees take note — the unbelievably long CV you are reading could be a sham!