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The BMJ's campaigns

The BMJ's campaigns

Challenging the status quo.

BMJ Open Data Campaign logo

Open Data

BMJ has provided a consistent voice in its campaign for transparent and open clinical trial date.

The BMJ’s campaigns

For over 170 years The BMJ has campaigned for better health and healthcare, speaking out against wrong doing and challenging the status quo.

In 1868, the journal's editor, Ernest Hart (1835-1898) published a series of investigations that forced an inquiry into the state of London’s work-house infirmaries, which helped to reform the treatment of the sick and poor throughout England. He also played a key part in the passage of the Infant Life Protection Act of 1872, directed against the lucrative practice of baby farming, and later campaigned tirelessly for sanitary legislation. Read more about him in our history.


Ernest Hart (1835-1898)


Disposing of a child during Victorian times

His successors have taken up other campaigns to improve healthcare and research, championing better, more accountable peer review, evidence based medicine, research integrity, and the declaration of conflicts of interest.

The BMJ continues this proud tradition today, actively campaigning on important international health issues, including patient safety, the dangers of metal on metal hips, better regulation of medical devices, and the threat to health from climate change.

The BMJ’s Open Data campaign aims to improve the transparency of clinical trials around the world. It began in 2009 when The BMJ published a Cochrane review of the antiviral drug Tamiflu that raised questions about its effectiveness and highlighted the wider issue of missing trial data undermining the ability of doctors and patients to make properly informed decisions. 

Since then, the campaign has shone a spotlight on the issue of missing trial data as a threat to the integrity of evidence-based medicine, prompting global media coverage, government debates, and pressure on regulators to improve drug licensing procedures.

In April 2013, after more than three years of pressure from the journal and others, drug manufacturer Roche agreed to release Tamiflu trial data for independent scrutiny. The BMJ continues to call for access to clinical trial data to allow independent scrutiny of all drugs in current use. Read more at

The BMJ's campaigns aspire to awaken the global conscience of doctors and foster initiatives to push for change.

The BMJ's current editor, Dr Fiona Godlee, has been featured in the media for taking on the medical establishment for the benefit of patients and healthcare in general. Integrity in medicine is high on the company's agenda, with the aim of supporting and empowering frontline staff to drive change to improve patient outcomes.

The BMJ's Too Much Medicine campaign aims to highlight the threat to human health and the waste of resources caused by unnecessary care. There is growing evidence that many people are overdiagnosed and overtreated for a wide range of conditions, including prostate and thyroid cancers, asthma, and chronic kidney disease.


In 2013, The BMJ published a series of hard-hitting articles to kick-start the debate ahead of the first Preventing Overdiagnosis conference attended by over 300 people from 30 countries. The conference is now a key event in the medical calendar. Read more at

In 2014, The BMJ added its voice to the debate on alcohol pricing by calling on the UK government "to stop dancing to the tune of the drinks industry and prioritise public health."

A series of investigations exposed the government's "sham" consultation into minimum unit pricing in England and Wales and uncovered attempts by the drinks industry to overturn introduction of a minimum unit price in Scotland and to influence Europe’s alcohol policy.

Ahead of the 2014 football World Cup, The BMJ exposed the scale of the drinks industry’s influence on the global stage. Read more here.

Then, following an editorial “Statins and The BMJ” by Fiona Godlee in August 2014 , The BMJ said they would contact the principal investigators of all the relevant trials and publish their responses. 

More recently, The BMJ called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a public health emergency on climate change.

It also aims to draw attention to corrupt practices in health systems internationally and stimulate discussion on underlying causes. 

You can find out more about The BMJ's latest campaigns and investigations here.


“Challenging healthcare convention is never easy, but it is essential we use our voice to improve the lives of patients worldwide. ”

Dr. Fiona Godlee

Editor-In-Chief, BMJ