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Elsevier Accused Again in Ghostwriting Scandal - This Time in Wyeth Prempro/Premarin Cases

Medical publisher Elsevier is accused for the second time this year of publishing ghostwritten medical articles. The development suggests that ghostwriting is business as usual: Merck and AstraZeneca have also been accused of hiring ghostwriters this year.

In a slew of documents made public in the Prempro/Premarin litigation against Wyeth, The New York Times reports:

The articles, published in medical journals between 1998 and 2005, emphasized the benefits and de-emphasized the risks of taking hormones to protect against maladies like aging skin, heart disease and dementia.
Wyeth said:
... all the articles are scientifically accurate and that it is a common practice in the pharmaceutical industry to work with such firms.
There were 26 articles in all, not all of them published by Elsevier. The company was previously reported to be involved in the creation of six editions of a fake medical journal -- the "Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine" -- as part of Merck's promotion of Vioxx. It's not just Elsevier, the Times writes:
The court documents provide a detailed paper trail showing how Wyeth contracted with a medical communications company to outline articles, draft them and then solicit top physicians to sign their names, even though many of the doctors contributed little or no writing. The documents suggest the practice went well beyond the case of Wyeth and hormone therapy, involving numerous drugs from other pharmaceutical companies.
In addition to Merck, BNET has previously noted that AstraZeneca employed ghostwriters -- and an AZ exec received sexual favors from one of those writers -- to create articles about Seroquel. Another wrote a paper about warfarin.