Ethical conundrums: they just keep on coming

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 07 September 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:g

Could it be acceptable for the BMJ to continue to employ a statistical adviser who was to give evidence on behalf of the tobacco industry? We faced this problem a few years ago with Ken MacRae, who died earlier this year (27 April, p 1041. Despite being very fond of Ken, our gut reaction was no. We feared the headline: “BMJ adviser paid by tobacco industry.” But then we thought that perhaps statisticians could be like lawyers: legitimately paid to advance an argument in Britain's adversarial legal system.

Our traditional solution to ethical conundrums is to publish the problem and …

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