Grassley probes journals for ghostwriting info

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked eight journals to provide information about their medical ghostwriting practices and policies, in an effort to “shed light on the role companies may play in the dissemination of information about their products through medical literature.”

Grassley's most recent probe into ghost writing practices took the form of a letter sent to the American Journal of Medicine, the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Annual Review of Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and others.

The letter, dated July 2, requested that publishers detail their editorial policies with respect to third parties involved in the “development and/or writing of a journal article,” and any actions taken against an author for failing to disclose this information. Grassley asked that all of the journals respond by July 22.

“Public dollars and the public trust are at stake in the practice of medicine, and the information that is shared in these journals can influence decisions made by doctors and their patients,” said Grassley in a release. “Transparency can do a lot of good in building confidence that there's nothing to hide, and that applies to how expert opinion is presented in public forums like these journals provide.”

In the past, Grassley has requested ghostwriting-related information from Wyeth and Merck over allegations that both companies signed authors on to published articles and clinical research inappropriately.
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