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11_Ghostwriting - Ross


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Similarly, review articles related to ro- fecoxib were frequently prepared by un- acknowledged authors employed by medical publishing companies and at- tributed authorship to investigators who often did not disclose financial sup- port from Merck. The limited nature of our source ma- terial for this case-study review pre- vented an exact determination of the contributions of recruited authors to the overall design and conduct of the clini- cal trial and/or the preparation of manu- scripts. Although we reviewed in ex- cess of 20 000 documents produced during the consolidated rofecoxib liti- gation, we were frequently unable to identify versions of manuscript drafts dated before and after external, aca- demically affiliated authors had been re- cruited. In addition, we cannot ex- clude contributions by authors made by telephone or in person that would not be identified by reviewing documents obtained through litigation. However, the instances for which we did iden- tify before and after manuscript drafts, such as for protocol 078, we found scant documentary evidence that the re- cruited authors were involved in the de- sign or conduct of the study or made substantive contributions to the manu- script beyond minor editing. Partici- pating only in minor editing does not meet authorship criteria of the Inter- national Committee of Medical Jour- nal Editors (ICMJE). 129 In addition, we could not determine how often ghost- writing and guest authorship actually occurred, whether the contracted manuscript drafts from medical pub- lishing companies were used, or if the proposed payments (honoraria) were provided. Nevertheless, although we
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