Did you know that freelance ghostwriters may be writing some of those nutrition-oriented articles in various scientific and medical journals? Topics range from pharmaceutical to pharmacogenomic subjects, nutrition, medical, and scientific informational articles. For further information on how to become a freelance medical/nutritional ghostwriter, check out the paperback book, 101 Ways to Find Six-Figure Medical or Popular Ghostwriting Jobs.
Pharmaceutical companies hire ghostwriters to write reports and articles. Many drug review articles are written by ghostwriters. See The Guardian Unlimited website, and read the article from the Observer titled, Revealed: how drug firms ‘hoodwink’ medical journals | Society: Pharmaceutical giants hire ghostwriters to produce articles – then put doctors’ names on them,” by Antony Barnett, public affairs editor, Sunday December 7, 2003. The article reports that “estimates suggest” that “nearly 50 percent” of all articles published in medical journals are by penned ghostwriters, not written by physicians or scientific researchers that also are academics. Also see the article, How the Drug Industry Deceives Doctors? Big Pharma Dangers.
The question now for future medical ghostwriters is to find out what type of education and experience are the “pharmaceutical giants” looking for when they hire ghostwriters to write medical journal articles or other pharmaceutical reports that are intended for an audience of physicians and scientists? If you read an article by a physician with an MD after his or her name or a PhD, do you wonder whether the ghostwriter hired to write the journal article has the same training or needs the same training to verify the facts in the article—the positive and negative—as the physician or scientist whose name and byline appears on the journal article?
And if you’re planning to become a medical ghostwriter, how do you prepare for this type of work? You don’t need to go to medical school, but there are physicians who would rather write than practice medicine who do ghostwriting. Other ghostwriters have undergraduate or graduate degrees in one of the sciences, and not necessarily a PhD.
What does it take to become a medical ghostwriter and be hired by the largest pharmaceutical firms that pay comfortable incomes and offer steady employment to ghostwriters? It sure beats competing with the Hollywood crowd to get assignments from publishers to ghostwrite novels for celebrities, or does it, in terms of steady work and relatively long-term income? If you like to keep learning as you write, consider a career as a medical ghostwriter.
See these articles below for further sources of information:
1.Antony Barnett. Revealed: how drug firms ‘hoodwink’ medical journals. Pharmaceutical giants hire ghostwriters to produce articles – then put doctors’ names on them. The Observer. Sunday December 7, 2003
2. Revealed: How Drug Firms ‘Hoodwink’ Medical Journals
3. Shannon Brownlee. Doctors Without Borders. Why you can’t trust medical journals anymore. Washington Monthly. April 2003.
4. Zuckerman, D. Hype in health reporting: “checkbook science” buys distortion of medical news. International Journal of Health Services. 2003;33(2).
5. Bekelman, J.E., Li, Y. and Gross, C. P. Scope and impact of financial conflicts of interest in biomedical research. Journal of the American Medical Association. 289: 454-465.
6. Willman D. Stealth merger: drug companies and government medical research. Los Angeles Times. 2003 Dec 7: A1, A32-3.