Interview: Researchers Deconstruct Ghostwritten Industry Trial for Antidepressant

“… articles go through a lot of drafts, maybe 10-15 drafts, that get passed around between the statisticians and the marketing people at the companies and then, after most of this has already been written, they go looking for the so-called ‘author’ of the paper. What often happens is that the academic physician they identify, the so-called ‘author,’ doesn’t even see the article until it has already been drafted and revised by all of these people internally at the companies.”

This interview, conducted by Justin Karter, features on the Mad in America website. It looks at how medical ghostwriters produce articles for pharmaceutical companies concerning the results of drugs trials, and how the academic physicians later chosen (as key opinion-leaders) to be the so-called ‘authors’ of these articles often have little to do with what the article says.

The preamble to the interview explains:

“Researchers, Jon Jureidini, Jay Amsterdam and Leemon McHenry, have taken a closer look at the data from a randomized control trial of citalopram (Celexa) that was ghostwritten and then used by the manufacturers to support claims of the drug’s efficacy and safety in the treatment of child and adolescent depression. Their analysis used 750 recently-released court documents from a lawsuit against Forest Labs concerning the marketing and sales practices involved in the off-label promotion of Celexa. Drs. Jon Jureidini and Jay Amsterdam were expert witnesses in the case. The article is published, open-access, in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine.

To get the background on this story, we connected with Dr. Leemon McHenry, an investigator in this study and a lecturer in philosophy at California State University, Northridge.”

The interview begins with Justin Karter asking “What is ‘medical ghostwriting’ and how does it affect research on psychiatric drugs? …”

You can read the full interview here.

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