Ghost management: How much of the medical literature is shaped behind the scenes by the pharmaceutical industry?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Anecdotes have shown that some articles on profitable drugs are constructed by and shepherded through publication by pharmaceutical companies and their agents, whose influence is largely invisible to readers. This is ghost-management, the substantial but unrecognized research, analysis, writing, editing and/or facilitation behind publication. Publicly available documents suggest that these practices extremely widespread affecting up to 40% of clinical trial reports in key periods but it has been unclear how representative these documents are. This article presents the results of an investigative sampling of the self-presentation of publication planning services, and presents this and other evidence of a sizable publication planning industry. Thus different lines of evidence indicate that ghost-management is a common and important phenomenon, strongly affecting the published medical literature in the service of marketing.
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