More on ghostwriting

Questions about the negative heart effects of Vioxx were raised in 2001 in an article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).  In a move to mute this information, apparently, Merck had a rebuttal article ghostwritten and then signed by Dr Marvin Konstam (Tufts University Medical Center, Boston).

This allowed Vioxx to continue being used without warnings until 2004, three years later.

Here is a link to a detailed article on HeartWire with several quotes from the article:

http://www.theheart.org/article/965721.do

“During the three years after publication of the Konstam manuscript, millions of patients around the world were prescribed rofecoxib(Vioxx) by physicians who believed that the drug was safe. In this case, a ghostwritten article caused great harm to the public health.”……

….

“It seems clear that that’s what happened with this meta-analysis,” Ross continues. “They [Merck] had already made the decision about what the analyses were going to be and what the outcomes were going to be and then they got people involved afterward. Ghostwriting is a major disservice to patients, when you can’t trust the medical literature.”

Ross continues: “What makes this different than just about any [other] person [involved in guest authorship] is that Dr Konstam is quite prominent in the cardiology community. He’s not a small fish.”

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