N – Ghostwriting in the drug industry

Journal articles on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) ghostwritten by medical writers employed by the pharmaceutical industry serially understated the treatment’s risks and promoted unapproved uses, according to an analysis of industry documents.

The analysis, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, is based on some 1,500 emails, contracts and other documents made public in July 2009, after the New York Times and PLoS Medicine successfully argued that their release would be in the public interest. Many thousands more papers remain sealed as part of ongoing lawsuits brought by more than 14,000 women against the drug maker Wyeth, which was bought last year by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, based in New York.