After you read the New York Times article, I suggest you read this very clever article by William Heisel, a two time Pulitzer finalist, who blogs on Reporting on Health, a project of the Annenberg School for Communication at USC. Heisel's focus is on the self-deluded ways doctors are rationalizing their partipation in medical ghostwriting. For example, Dr. Leon Speroff, a former professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health Sciences University who allowed DesignWrite to put his name on a paper he didn't write, defended his bad behavior by saying that it was then "standard practice" to not disclose a drug company's involvement.
Why is it when these researchers are caught with a drug company's hand playing them like a puppet, they pull the "standard practice" line? Standard for whom? Certainly not for the patients taking the pills and presumably not for the journal editors accepting the articles for publication. Perhaps this is something Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, should ask in a hearing. Speroff told the Journal Sentinel he had nothing to apologize for:
"There is nothing dishonest about it."
Speroff was quoted in this excellent investigative report on medical ghostwriting at University of Wisconsin written by--who else?--the incomparable John Fauber and Meg Kissinger of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, both of whom should be on the short list at the next awards meeting of the Pulitzer committee.