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Ghostwriting documents now fully available on PLoS Medicine Web site
Date:8/21/2009

Today, PLoS Medicine (http://www.plosmedicine.org) places in the public domain all documents around 1500 - released after the journal and The New York Times intervention in the Prempro case. The documents, are available on the PLoS Medicine website at http://www.plosmedicine.org/static/ghostwriting.action, and are uploaded in the form that PLoS received them from the court.

The documents include internal correspondence, reports, and tracking documents relating to interactions between the pharmaceutical company Wyeth and a medical communications firm, to promote Wyeth's hormone drugs. These documents show in considerable detail a coordinated and carefully monitored campaign of "ghostwriting" by Wyeth and medical writing companies for a number of products marketed by the company.

Ghostwriting, which involves using medical writers to produce articles that are then nominally authored by an academic not substantially involved in the writing process, has been condemned as an unacceptable practice by medical journals and editors. Nonetheless, the practice appears to persist and by placing all the documents for scrutiny in the public domain, the editors of PLoS Medicine hope that they will help guide the way to identifying reforms that will eventually stamp ghostwriting out.

In order to make these documents available, PLoS Medicine, represented by public interest law firm, Public Justice (http://www.publicjustice.net), and The New York Times intervened in an ongoing court case in which women were suing Wyeth, the manufacturers of Prempro, a hormone replacement therapy. During the discovery process for this case, one of the lawyers representing injured women in the litigation, Jim Szaller of Cleveland, Ohio, had become aware of many documents that laid out in
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Contact: Andrew Hyde
press@plos.org
44-122-346-3330
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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