February 11, 2010

Medical Ghostwriting

It would seem that this should be treated with the utmost amazement.

But apparently, many major academic medical centers have no policy guidelines in place that deal with this:

http://clinicaltrials.ploshubs.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000230

There are tangled webs of relationships between academics in medical centers and pharmaceutical companies. It's common for department heads of medical centers to be on the boards of pharma companies. Such situations can obviously lead to conflicts of interest. People who hold these dual responsibilities might have very high ethical standards but it would appear prudent to put in place a system that would altogether remove this possibility.

It's perhaps similar to something like this ... when you are celebrating your marriage anniversary, would you like to invite not only the parents of your present wife but all of your previous girlfriends as well? I think that might complicate things ...

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