AP: Glaxo reps aided Paxil ghostwriting

GlaxoSmithKline commissioned sales reps to recruit doctor-authors for ghostwritten articles supporting Paxil use, a newly discovered document shows, and even named the program after everyone's favorite friendly ghost.

As reported by the Associated Press, Glaxo's "CASPPER" program dispatched sales people to offer physicians help in writing and publishing journal articles about their successful use of the antidepressant. The push for journal articles was aimed at boosting Paxil's "product positioning" and overcoming "competitive issues," the AP reports. Glaxo says the program was discontinued years ago and wasn't "heavily used" when it was in force.

The news of Glaxo's friendly ghostwriting efforts comes hard on the heels of news that Wyeth mounted a coordinated campaign to push its hormone replacement therapy via ghostwritten journal reviews. And it comes at a time when lawmakers, patient advocates and others are questioning the pharma industry's influence on academic researchers and physicians. Drugmakers have been scrambling to stay ahead of this trend, promising to disclose info about their financial ties with doctors and researchers.

Just last week, anti-influence crusader Sen. Charles Grassley wrote the NIH in an apparent effort to suggest a crackdown on ghostwritten journal articles. The senator demanded NIH's policies on ghostwriting by researchers and institutions with agency funding. 

- check out the AP news
- see the New York Times story