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10. August 2011

Being the Ghost in the Machine: A Medical Ghostwriter's Personal View

PLoS 9.8.2011


Ethical concerns about medical ghostwriting have been directed primarily at “guest” authors and the pharmaceutical companies that pay them. One voice that is largely missing is that of the ghostwriters themselves who, after all, create the documents that are in the ethical and legal crosshairs. Without them, one could argue, there can be no fraud, because it is they who create the fraudulent product.

For almost 11 years, I worked as a medical writer, creating a variety of pieces including the occasional ghostwritten article. For the most part, I never saw the finished paper, nor did I care to. This article describes what I did, why I did it, why I stopped doing it, and what I think might be done about the problem of fraud in authorship.

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