Medicine And The Media

Conflict of interest in the Times

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 27 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1417
  1. Richard Smith

    Doctors who offer advice through the media may be tempted to be somewhat cavalier as they are not dealing with individual patients. But many people continue to take very seriously what these doctors have to say. Doctor journalists must therefore be careful what they write, not leastbecause other doctors can analyse their advice.

    Dr Thomas Stuttaford, a former Tory member of parliament, has written for the Times for many years and has cultivated an image of the amiable, avuncular, home counties doctor who may not be quite at the cutting edge but who can be relied upon for solid advice. In reality, as he told us in an article published last week in the Times (16 May, p 15), Dr Stuttaford has worked with BUPA, the “brand leader” in medical screening, for 25 years. By telling us this he might be said to have declared his conflict of interest for writing a long piece on screening, but unfortunately the declaration appears in the 12th paragraph and has nothing like the prominence of the headings: “Dr …

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