Med School professor denies ghostwriting claim

Four of the six academic medical professionals accused of signing their names to ghostwritten studies and texts have denied the claims, including School of Medicine professor Kimberly Yonkers. Yale School of Medicine administrators refused to comment on whether the School has investigated nonprofit watchdog Project on Government Oversight’s claim that the professor had a 2003 report on GlaxoSmithKline’s antidepressant, Paxil, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder ghostwritten for her. Yonkers claimed she edited the writing company’s draft substantially.

In response to POGO’s ghostwriting accusation against Brown University Medical School professor Martin Keller, Brown’s Provost David Kertzer told the Brown Daily Herald the administration generally “reviews relevant information and addresses any resulting concerns through its internal processes” upon receiving a complaint like POGO’s. But Kertzer still refused to comment specifically about Keller.

Alan F. Schatzberg, previous chairman of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine who POGO accused of signing his name to a ghostwritten textbook, has hired an attorney to voice his argument. The attorney, Stuart Clark, asks that POGO apologize to Schatzberg and retract the ghostwriting accusations the letter published on its website.

In a letter Clark sent to POGO’s attorney Scott Amey on Dec. 9, Clark admitted that Schatzberg and the textbook’s listed coauthor Charles B. Nemeroff, chairman of psychiatry at the University of Miami medical school, received acknowledged “editorial support” from Diane Coniglio and Sally Laden, the same Scientific Therapeutics Information medical writer involved in Yonker’s 2003 study. But, Clark says neither writer, “nor anyone else” ghostwrote the book.

Clark approved of POGO’s recent revisions to its letter to the National Institutes of Health published on the POGO website. The revisions retract the word “ghostwriting” when referring to Schatzberg’s and Nemeroff’s book. But Clark still requests that POGO either continue its revision process to strike all ghostwriting accusations directed at Schatzberg and Nemeroff throughout the text or write a separate retraction letter to the NIH.

Clark’s letter also refers to Schatzberg’s demand for an apology from POGO and Paul Thacker, one of the authors of POGO’s Nov 29 letter to the NIH, for “false accusations” of ghostwriting Thacker published on his blog and the POGO website.

On Dec. 8, the New York Times issued a correction of its original article regarding Schatzberg’s and Nemeroff’s book. According to the correction, the documents POGO included in its letter to the NIH as evidence against Schatzberg and Nemeroff show that pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline hired writing company STI to work on the book. But the documents do not prove that the STI writers wrote the book for Schatzberg and Nemeroff.

Correction: December 16, 2010

An earlier version of this article originally incorrectly identified Scott Amey as Alan Schatzberg’s attorney. Stuart Clark is the attorney representing Schatzberg. Clark wrote the Dec. 9 letter to the Project on Government Oversight lawyer, Scott Amey.

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