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Sen. Grassley Wants Tougher Stance Against Medical Ghostwriting

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A U.S. Senator wants stronger action against scientific papers written by ghostwriters who work for drug companies and against doctors at medical schools who attach their names to the papers, which are carefully crafted to boost drug makers' sales.

While medical ethics experts say the practice betrays public trust, many universities don't acknowledge the problem and haven't introduced new ethical rules or held faculty members to account, The New York Times reported.

Last week, Iowa Republican Senator Charles E. Grassley started putting pressure on the National Institutes of Health to get tough on medical ghostwriting. Grassley, who helps oversee funding for medical research, has led a long-running investigation of conflicts of interest in medicine.

The NIH underwrites much of the medical research in the U.S. and many doctors depend on federal grants to support their work. Attaching conditions to those grants could force universities to introduce new ethical standards, The Times reported.