Letters

Competing interests

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7394.883 (Published 19 April 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:883

Consent was not obtained

  1. Stephen J Senn, professor of pharmaceutical and heath statistics (stephens@public-health.ucl.ac.uk)
  1. University College London, London WC1E 6BT
  2. Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark
  3. Mailpoint 218, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southampton SO16 6YD
  4. BMJ, London WC1H 9JR

    EDITOR—So, the editor of the BMJ is happy to coauthor research involving undeclared deception of subjects and publish it in his journal.1 Three hundred readers were unwitting dupes. They took part without being informed what the real object of the exercise was, no informed consent here, at least not by the standard of being willing to show the subject the research protocol.

    This sort of research violates Kant's categorical imperative—act as if this were a universal principle. It seeks payment in a coin that it debases for others.2 BMJ readers should be warned: next time a researcher contacts you for an opinion, it is probably a hoax.

    What is ironic about the paper is that the results have meaning only if the respondents were more honest than the authors. My warning to researchers is as follows: if you deceive your subjects what right have you to expect they will not do the same to you?3

    Footnotes

    • Competing interests SJS is a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry and an academic. His career is therefore furthered by publication.

    References

    1. 1.
    2. 2.
    3. 3.

    Problem is greater than editorial indicates

    1. Ivar S Kristiansen, senior researcher (ivarsk@c2i.net)
    1. University College London, London WC1E 6BT
    2. Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark
    3. Mailpoint 218, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southampton SO16 6YD
    4. BMJ, London WC1H 9JR

      EDITOR—The BMJ should …

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