Maintaining the integrity of the scientific record

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7330.169 (Published 19 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:169

Scientific standards observed by medical journals can still be improved

  1. Stephen Senn, professor of pharmaceutical and health statistics (stephen@senns.demon.co.uk)
  1. University College London, London WC1E 6BT
  2. Professor Senn is a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry. This letter represents his personal opinion.
  3. Quintiles, Glengorse, Battle, East Sussex TN33 0TX

    EDITOR—The average scientific standard of what pharmaceutical sponsors present to regulators is far superior to that observed by medical journals.1 Despite laudable efforts recently by various editors in employing statistical reviewers, much still finds its way into print that is, essentially, nonsense. If the Medicines Control Agency did its gate keeping job as badly I would be alarmed.

    Despite Smith's comments, ethical standards are often not superior outside the pharmaceutical industry. During my work for the industry I came across the following behaviour from the sort of external investigator that Smith would like the industry to use: the faking of data; the changing of procedures in the interests of personal research without approval being sought from either the company or the ethics committee; and refusal to agree to abide by the prespecified (and mutually agreed) analysis because …

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