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JAMA Editorial Blows Whistle on Drug Companies Ghost Writers for Scientific Studies

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I just ran across a Yahoo.com article describing a new editorial from JAMA which blows the whistle on drug companies using ghost writers for supposedly unbiased medical research. 

According to Yahoo.com, “JAMA’s editorial discusses two new reports involving the painkiller Vioxx and how drug companies influence the interpretation and publication of medical research.

The reports claim Merck & Co. frequently paid academic scientists to take credit for research articles prepared by company-hired medical writers, a practice called ghostwriting. They also contend Merck tried to minimize deaths in two studies that showed that the now withdrawn Vioxx didn’t work at treating or preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

Merck called the reports in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association false and misleading. Five writers of the articles were paid consultants for people who sued Merck over Vioxx’s heart and stroke risks; the sixth testified about Merck and Vioxx’s heart risks before a Senate panel. Merck says those connections makes the reports themselves biased.

While Merck is singled out, the practices are not uncommon, according to JAMA’s editors. In an editorial, they urge strict reforms, including a ghostwriting crackdown and requiring all authors to spell out their specific roles.”

For attorneys who have been fighting goliath drug companies for many years, this comes as no suprise.  The drug culture is rampant with fraudulent scientific data manipulated in order to sell drugs to an unsuspecting public.