The University of Pennsylvania has found no merit to an allegation that two of its psychiatry faculty committed research misconduct when they co-authored a 2001 paper written with help from writers hired by a drug company. But the university says that under current rules, the two faculty members would have been required to acknowledge the role of a “medical writer” in preparing the paper.
Last July, Penn psychiatrist Jay Amsterdam alleged in a letter to the federal Office of Research Integrity that five researchers, including Penn’s Laszlo Gyulai and Dwight Evans, chair of the Penn psychiatry department, had “engaged in scientific misconduct by allowing their names to be appended to a manuscript that was drafted by” Scientific Therapeutics Information (STI), a medical communications company, that had been “hired by” GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The paper, which appeared in June 2001 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, reported on a small clinical trial of the antidepressant Paxil, partly funded by GSK and the National Institutes of Health. Amsterdam also claimed the paper was “biased” in favor of Paxil’s safety and efficacy.
Amsterdam’s letter argued that ORI should be involved because NIH Director Francis Collins has written that ghostwriting “may be appropriate for consideration as a case of plagiarism,” which falls under the federal definition of research misconduct.