This appears to have gone one step further in the fact that a program was developed internally with a “how to” structure, and one individual spoke out in dismay with naming it after a “cartoon ghost”. Paxil now has generic competition as well as from other name brand drugs. I wonder how many more ghostwriters will be uncovered as time moves on. BD
WASHINGTON — Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline used a sophisticated ghostwriting program to promote its antidepressant Paxil, allowing doctors to take credit for medical journal articles mainly written by company consultants, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press.
An internal company memo instructs salespeople to approach physicians and offer to help them write and publish articles about their positive experiences prescribing the drug.
Known as the CASPPER program, the paper explains how the company can help physicians with everything from "developing a topic," to "submitting the manuscript for publication."
The document was uncovered by the Baum Hedlund PC law firm of Los Angeles, which is representing hundreds of former Paxil users in personal injury and wrongful death suits against GlaxoSmithKline. The firm alleges the company downplayed several risks connected with its drug, including increased suicidal behavior and birth defects.
A spokeswoman for London-based Glaxo said the published articles noted any assistance to the main authors.
According to the memo, which dates from April 2000, the CASPPER program was designed to "strengthen the product positioning and overcome competitive issues."
At the time, Paxil was competing with rival antidepressant blockbusters like Eli Lilly's Prozac and Pfizer's Zoloft. Paxil has since lost its patent protection and competes against cheaper generic versions. Sales of Paxil last year totaled $849 million.