Editor's Choice

Transparency and trust

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7472.0-g (Published 21 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:0-g

Regarding Adam Jacobs

Who is being misleading?

The President of the European Medical Writers Association no less -
better known to all here as Adam Jacobs - writes in to complain that it is
misleading to say that the name of the ghost writer "is not revealed" on
papers. And then, when Jacobs himself is asked which papers his name
appears on, he is silent. Of course it is a spurious point because the
editor wrote "not revealed" not "never revealed" and it is the many cases
where it is not revealed that remain a matter for concern (particularly
when the head of the profession in Europe is in the habit of pronouncing
on every conceivable topic in this journal under his own name).

Secondly, Jacobs's admission about the lack of contact that named
authors have with the raw data is truly astounding (and we must assume he
knows what he is talking about). Not only are the named authors unable to
vouch for the authenticity and quality of the data, they even cannot vouch
for the integrity of its presentation. Dr Jacobs apparently thinks this is
defensible but as far as I can see every element in the once normal
process of research has been short-circuited. Not only is Zosia Kmietowicz
not being misleading, but Jacobs's own cavalier attitude could not be more
revealing of the culture.

And what is worse is that we have become so apathetic and accepting
that these extraordinary disclosures go almost unremarked: indeed would
have done if it had not been for my intervention some days after Jacobs's
letter was originally posted.

Competing interests:
Parent of an autistic child with concerns about the integrity and influence of the pharmaceutical industry

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 November 2004
John Stone
none
London N22
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