By PAUL THACKER
We have been hounding the issue of medical ghostwriting for the last couple of months, and to keep interested parties informed, we created an FAQ on medical ghostwriting . Unfortunately, the FAQ contains an error.
I've pointed out before that it is extremely hypocritical that universities punish undergrads and grads for plagiarism, but look the other way when professors steal the words of ghostwriters to publish studies favorable to industry and expand their own bloated CVs.
Universities regularly give failing grades and even expel students who use paper mills for classroom work, but not a single professor has been punished over allegations of ghostwriting, despite scandals at over a dozen schools .
I was wrong.
Last week, The Montreal Gazette reported that McGill University formally reprimanded professor Barbara Sherwin for failing to mention help from a ghostwriter hired by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals to write a paper published in 2000. The story added that Dr. Sherwin is no longer a member of the Quebec Order of Psychologists, which means she can no longer practice under the title of psychologist.
So we’ve updated the FAQ .
Interestingly, the reprimand from McGill was previously reported by Canada’s national weekly current affairs magazine, Macleans. The story was long, and I missed the reference to the reprimand which was written about eleven paragraphs into the article. In her defense, Dr. Sherwin stated that she was not “sanctioned.”
Which raises the question, “What is the difference between a reprimand and a sanction?”
Paul Thacker is a POGO Investigator.