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article imageMcGill University professor uses ghostwriter for health journal

By Larry Clifton     Aug 24, 2009 in World
A story by Jason Magder published in The Gazette newspaper of Montreal, Quebec maintains that a McGill University professor is involved in a ghostwriting scheme in which articles were purchased by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a major drug distribution company.
The tainted articles made their way into reputable journals according to court documents.
Barbara Sherwin is a psychology professor whose expertise is in researching how hormones influence memory and mood in humans. Sherwin was listed as the sole author of an April 2000 article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society arguing that estrogen could help treat memory loss in older patients.
In reality, the piece was created by a freelance writer employed by DesignWrite, a ghostwriting entity in New Jersey. The company was paid by Wyeth to turn out ghostwritten articles, which were then submitted to reputable scholars.
Court records indicate that the article attributed to Sherwin was actually submitted to her by DesignWrite. Sherwin was involved in the editing process only and has admitted to making an “error.”
“I wrote a portion of the article, but not all of it, although only my name was listed as its author,” said Sherwin according to a statement released to The Gazette on Sunday. “Other parts of that article were written with the assistance of DesignWrite, a firm which, it turns out, was employed by a pharmaceutical manufacturer to assist in the development of academic articles. I made an error in agreeing to have my name attached to that article without having it made clear that others contributed to it.”
The ghostwriting scandal is being investigated by attorneys representing 8,400 women who claim the hormone drugs caused them harm. The women are suing Wyeth. A total of 26 allegedly ghostwritten papers were published in 18 medical journals, including The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and The International Journal of Cardiology.
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