Drug industry hires ghostwriters for medical journal articles

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The practice that some pharmaceutical companies are paying ghostwriters to write articles for medical journals as part of marketing campaigns was brought to light on Tuesday on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

Ghostwriters are hired by public relations firms contracted with pharmaceutical companies but aren't acknowledged as the author. The article said the practice helps academic researchers garner high-profile, seemingly authoritative articles that back up their treatments. Critics say the practice could hurt patients by giving doctors biased information. In response to such concerns, some medical journals have tightened their policies on writer disclosure.