NEJM: Takes ‘Extraordinary Step’ to Right Ethics Wrongs
Singled out by the Los Angeles Times for publishing drug research by scientists with financial ties to the drugs' makers, the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday posted on its Web site "two letters about its policy governing potential conflicts of interest for contributors," the Boston Globe reports. One letter is from Dr. Vera Price of the University of California-San Francisco, who discloses her financial relationship with hair-loss companies that market the treatments she favorably reviewed. The other is from NEJM editors accepting responsibility for policy violations. According to interim editor-in-chief Marcia Angell, the "policy against publishing editorials or review articles written by researchers who [have] accepted money from manufacturers of the drug or device reviewed" will remain the same. She adds, "The main question is if the grant support is major." The NEJM does permit "review articles by writers who have had minor support or past consultancies from affected companies." Also, "if the research is paid for by a company, the researcher is allowed to write the article while disclosing the link. However, such a connection would prohibit someone from writing an editorial or a review article." Editors plan to discuss possible conflicts-of-interest with past authors and "effective immediately," potential submissions are required to include a list of original "grant support and past consultations" from both the public and private sector. In the future, the journal will also reveal any minor grant support (Hsu, 10/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.