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US survey favours acknowledging medical study ghostwriters

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 29 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3986
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

    Pharma Marketing News, a US online journal, found that three quarters of respondents to a small survey of its readers thought that drug companies’ use of professional writers to write articles for medical journals was acceptable as long as it was clear who wrote the article and who endorsed the content (

    John Mack, the journal’s publisher, wrote, “‘Ghostwriting’ in and of itself may not be objectionable, but when sponsored by pharmaceutical companies that distribute medical journal articles on off-label indications to physicians it becomes a huge marketing compliance and ethics concern.”

    The US Food and Drug Administration earlier …

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