Thursday, August 10, 2006

JAMA editorial: "The influence of money on medical science"

In response to recent media commentary on conflicts of interest revealed during post-publication editorial scrutiny of several articles in the Journal of the American Medical Assocation (JAMA), the journal's Editor in Chief, Catherine DeAngelis, MD, MPH, authored an editorial this week (JAMA 2006;296 early release) discussing "research irregularities" and undisclosed financial conflicts of interest in articles involving for-profit companies.

She notes that current JAMA editorial policy requires independent statistical analysis by an academician when a study is industry-sponsored, and reports anecdotal evidence that this policy has led to some companies asking that their sponsored studies not be submitted to the journal.

She poses several questions to prompt further scrutiny of this issue -- "..what is appropriate compensation?...How do editors preserve the integrity of their journals while ensuring that they serve as vehicles for dissemination of scientific information that could help clinciians provide better care for their patients?" DeAngelis concludes the editorial by discussing steps that JAMA has taken to pursue potential conflicts of interest and involvement of individual academic institutions in investigating and correcting undisclosed conflicts of interest.

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