Letters

Advertisements for donepezil

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7122.1623 (Published 13 December 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1623

*The editorial team of the BMJreviews all advertisements before they are published, but we do not peer review them with anything like the rigour that we apply to original research papers. We have four main reasons for adopting this policy.

Firstly, readers are well aware of the difference between advertising and editorial material. They recognise that advertising is not approved by the editors in the way that original papers are. Readers of all publications recognise these differences and, I believe, discount advertising accordingly. Nobody, for example, places the same value on the advertising blurb about a book as they do on an independent review.

Secondly, we are always willing to consider for publication criticisms of advertising material, and we urge readers to write to us with such criticisms.

Thirdly, there are many other bodies responsible for scrutinising advertising and dealing with complaints. We would enter dangerous territory if we began “approving” advertisements with a peer review process. We would then be taking over the job of the Medicines Control Agency and similar bodies, and we are not qualified to do so. Nor are we adequately accountable for such a process.

Fourthly, we don't think that it would be a good use of our resources to spend time peer reviewing advertisements. This is a rationing issue. Our resources, like those of everybody else, are limited, and I believe that they are better spent improving and speeding up our peer review of original research, developing the educational content of the journal, making our editorials still more incisive and relevant, and making the journal more readable. This rationing argument also leads, for instance, to a policy of not sending out proofs of obituaries, something that upsets some authors.—Editor

More convincing evidence of efficacy needs to be cited

  1. Trisha Greenhalgh, Senior lecturera
  1. a Unit for Evidence-Based Practice and Policy, UCLMS/RFHSM, Whittington Hospital, London N19 5NF
  2. b Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development, Winchester SO22 5DH
  3. c Farnham Road Hospital, Guildford GU2 5LX
  4. d Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford GU2 5XX
  5. e Ridgewood Centre, Old Bisley Road, Camberley GU16 5QE
  6. f Abraham Cowley Unit, Holloway Hill, Lyne, Chertsey KT16 0QA
  7. g Barnes Hospital, London SW14 8SU
  8. h Eisai, 3 Shortlands, London W6 8EE
  9. i Pfizer, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9NJ
  10. j Research Institute for the Care of the Elderly, St Martin's Hospital, Bath BA2 5RP

    Editor—The inside back cover of the BMJ seems to have become a regular slot …

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