Ghost marketing: Pharmaceutical companies and ghostwritten journal articles

Barton Moffatt, Carl Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


The use of ghostwriters by industry is subject to increasing public attention and scrutiny. This article addresses the practice and ethics of scientific ghost-writing. We focus on the type of ghostwriting that involves a pharmaceutical company hiring a medical education and communications company to write a paper favorable of their product, who then hires a well-known academic to publish it under his or her name without disclosing the paper's true origins. We argue that this practice is harmful both to the public and to the institutions of science and that it is not justified by an analogy to accepted scientific authorship practices. Finally, we consider ways to discourage the practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-31
Number of pages14
JournalPerspectives in Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007


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