The practice gives false authority to supposed research articles that doctors rely on when they are prescribing drugs.
Ghost authoring has been going on for years, and they fill up to 80 per cent of the prestigious medical journals, one researcher has estimated.
But it's a practice that has to stop, and the only way of doing so is to charge the guilty with professional and academic misconduct and fraud, say Professors Simon Stern and Trudo Lemmens, law professors at the University of Toronto.
Charges could be extended to pharmaceutical companies who rely on studies that they know are ghost-written in proceedings in courts of law, they say.
(Source: PLoS Medicine, 2011; 8: e1001070).