We have posted quite a bit about ghost-written articles, that is, ostensibly scholarly articles appearing in medical and health care journals with apparently prominent authors that were really written mainly by medical writers hired by companies to market particular products, usually drugs. Now we hear of a case of a ghost-written book. Our fellow bloggers have covered this well. See posts here and here by Professor Margaret Soltan in University Diaries, and here on Inside Higher Ed; here by Dr Daniel Carlat on the Carlat Psychiatry Blog; here by Dr Howard Brody on the Hooked: Ethics, Medicine and Pharma blog; and here by Alison Bass on the Alison Bass blog. Ghost writing is often an important component of stealth marketing schemes, and serves not only to deceptively market products, but to deceptively increase the influence and prestige of the "key opinion leaders" who enable the practice. Be skeptical about the medical literature, and particularly skeptical by any academic who seems to have written more articles than would be humanly possible.
ADDENDUM (2 December, 2010) - As suggested by the comment below, see also posts here and here on the 1BoringOld Man blog. Also see an additional post by Dr Howard Brody on the Hooked: Ethics, Medicine and Pharma blog.
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