Doctors have been agreeing to be named as authors on studies written by employees of the pharmaceutical industry, giving greater credibility to medical research, according to new evidence.
The Guardian has learned that one of Britain's leading bone specialists is facing disciplinary action over accusations that he was involved in "ghost writing".
The wider phenomenon has come to light through documents disclosed in the US courts which have revealed a culture in which doctors agree to "author" studies written by employees of drug firms. The doctors may have some input but do not have access to all the evidence from the drug trial on which the paper's conclusions are based, the documents showed.
The General Medical Council will call Professor Richard Eastell in front of a fitness to practice committee. Eastell, a bone expert at Sheffield University, has admitted he allowed his name to go forward as first author of a study on an osteoporosis drug even though he did not have access to all the data on which the study's conclusions were based. An employee of Proctor and Gamble, the US company making Actonel, was the only author who had all the figures.