Thursday, August 4, 2011

The ghost behind the Globe and Mail

Yesterday, the Toronto Globe and Mail published a bizarre defense of pharma-sponsored medical ghostwriting.  Medical ghostwriting works like this: pharmaceutical companies hire medical writers to write scientific articles that make their products look good; then they persuade academic physicians to sign their names to the articles, in order to make the ghosted articles appear impartial and unbiased.  Medical schools have been slow to punish physicians who sign onto ghosted articles, but these days virtually nobody defends the practice of ghostwriting, which has figured prominently in most of the pharmaceutical fraud scandals of the past decade.  Nobody, that is, except for The Globe and Mail.

What could explain this odd editorial?  Maybe someone should ask the folks at Type A, a writing company that claims The Globe and Mail as one of its clients.  On the "Editorial/Ghostwriting" section of its website, Type A writes:

"Let’s face it, your clients are like most people; they want to make informed and independent decisions without being confronted with an obvious sales pitch. Which is why well-written industry articles are one of the most effective ways to deliver your message. But maybe you don’t have the time to craft the story yourself, or perhaps you can’t write as well as you need to. Why not enlist Type A to help you compose articles for key industry magazines, in print and on the web? For more than a decade, we have gained premium expertise ghostwriting industry articles and even e-books."

Type A even links to an example of ghostwriting it has done for the Globe and Mail.

Perhaps the editors of the Globe and Mail didn't have the time to craft the story they needed, or maybe they just couldn't write as well as they needed to.

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