The issue of ethics of professional medical writers engaged by pharmaceutical firms was discussed in novel oncology therapies.
In a recent article in JAMA Oncology on the use of surrogate endpoints in oncology, del Paggio et al identified industry funding for nearly all. They further highlighted the use of medical writers in papers published on this work to be of concern, suggesting that medical writers may unduly influence the interpretation of trials. In a letter, leaders of three professional medical writing organizations, the American Medical Writers Association, the European Medical Writers Association and the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals, refute this point, stating that the authors have no data to support this premise. Further, the medical writers make reference to Good Publication Practices guidelines, and ethical standards for medical writers. They cite a paper by Hamilton et al showing the opposite – that the involvement of medical writers in preparing manuscripts improves several outcomes.