Letters Medical journals and industry ties

Reasons to be cautious about competing interests

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7754 (Published 08 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:g7754
  1. Richard Smith, chair1
  1. 1Patients Know Best, London SW4 0LD, UK
  1. richardswsmith{at}yahoo.co.uk

I agree that disclosure on its own is not an adequate response to competing interests.1 There has to be a point at which the competing interest is so extreme that the person has to be ruled out of the article, review, decision, or whatever the activity. But defining that point is notoriously hard.

The subheading of the editorial says “zero tolerance,” but it cannot really mean zero tolerance because that would rule out any author who had been given a pen, a pad, or lunch by a company. …

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