University of Pennsylvania researcher Jay Amsterdam says his colleagues—including the chair of the psychiatry department—allowed their names to be included on a 2001 study of the anti-depressant Paxil (paroxetine) that he says was actually written by a communications company ghostwriter hired by the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, Nature reports. Amsterdam was a co-investigator, but says he was excluded from data analysis and review. He says that while his colleagues were also excluded from the analysis and writing of the paper, their names added credibility to the study, which he claims exaggerated the effectiveness of the drug for treating bipolar disorder and downplayed its side effects.
Amsterdam submitted a letter, along with relevant emails to buttress his assertions, to the Office of Research Integrity last week (July 8). In a rebuttal, two of the researchers told Nature that they had written an initial draft of the study.