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Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Sheds Light on Pharmaceutical Ghostwriting

A Chicago medical malpractice lawyer who has worked in cases involved problematic medication would know well the lengths that pharmaceutical companies are willing to go to ensure the success of their products. Part of the drive to maximize profits involves guaranteeing that their drug products are perceived as beneficial in academic and professional writing. To help receive that good coverage, some companies engage in highly questionable ghostwriting activities.

Macleans News recently discussed the way that some companies pay to have favorable writing written about their products. The practice was made apparent in details of a class-action lawsuit involving the safety of drugs produced by Wyeth. The company apparently paid a communications firm to write articles on the benefits of their hormone replacement therapy and then approached leading academics to claim authorship to boost the apparent credibility of the writing.

In 2009 a study into the issue found that nearly 8% of articles published in the leading medical journals had at least one ghostwriter. Some magazine editors admit that they reject many articles because it becomes clear that they were written in part by those paid by drug companies. The conflict of this practice is damagign. Often the companies that make these products and write the articles attempt to cite the articles in their marketing efforts in order to wrongly boost the perceived effectiveness of the product. For example, Vioxx promoters cited ghostwritten articles in an effort to sell more of the painkiller-that product eventually had to be pulled from the market after being linked to heart problems.

Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers believe that the conflicts between academic writing and pharmaceutical companies must be rejected at every turn. The prioritization of profit over accurate spreading of information is threat to all medical patients. We can only verify the safety and efficacy of new drugs if academics remain neutral in their investigations and analysis.

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