Intended for healthcare professionals


Conflicts of interest Drug advertising corrupts journals

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 14 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1301
  1. S Sussman
  1. London Psychiatric Hospital, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 4H1
  2. Leicester LE2 1SD.

    EDITOR, - In his editorial on the ethical problem of conflicts of interest and the BMJ Richard Smith refers to the New England Journal of Medicine leading the way with “its policies on conflict of interest.”1 He states that the editors of the American journal “have said that ‘most academic institutions and journals have not gone far enough in dealing with this problem'” and that this may be “still truer on [the British] side of the Atlantic.” The 3 March issue of the New England Journal of Medicine - a 93 page publication - contained 22 pages of drug advertisements. Notwithstanding the fact that the 2 April issue of the BMJ - a 63 page issue - contained 21 pages of pharmaceutical “offerings,” the New England Journal of Medicine hardly seems to be in a position to be in the vanguard of establishing ethical-categorical imperatives regarding the submission of articles to journals that may be funded or influenced by sources that are not impartial. This strikes me as being akin to the syndrome “do as I say and not as I behave.”

    Drug companies' advertisements in medical journals may pose an even greater threat to …

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