Monday, July 12, 2010

It’s Time to Give Up This Ghost

We’re very puzzled by this ghostwriting business.

If industry has anything to do with a journal article, from conceiving it, creating content matter, finding the author, writing the article, editing the article, producing the article – anything at all – it should say so, in black and white, for all to read.

Ghost of a chance, you say? We are not that naive to know that is not how it works.

So we'll ask: Has industry been dishonest in the drug creation? In conducting the clinical trial? In gathering the data? In presenting its findings to the FDA? We do not believe so.   Thought Leaders validate their work, test their processes, and publish their articles with points of view to create debate. That is the value of the current system. We often talk about the unintended consequences of increased scrutiny on this subject.  Our concern is that innovation and science will suffer.

No doubt, the temptation to massage the data can be overwhelming, so keep this in mind: Some journals are now demanding that industry-sponsored trials must be independently tested. After JAMA imposed its regulation in 2005, some folks did a study, comparing industry-submitted articles from 2002 and 2008 – and found there was a 21 percent fall in submissions. Innovation occurring at the expense of gains in medical breakthroughs is one thing, but are companies really so profit-focused they forget why they are in the business?

Are we seeing the impact of this transparency and will there be a positive outcome?  More to follow on the subject I am sure.

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