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The tobacco industry and scientific publications

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 03 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1350

Challenges on grounds of self evident potential bias are not unfair

  1. A J Hedley, Professora
  1. a Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  2. b Association for Nonsmokers' Rights, Edinburgh EH7 4BU

    Editor—Peter N Lee complains about the concern, expressed by George Davey Smith and Andrew N Phillips, that Lee's vested interest in tobacco industry revenue to P N Lee Statistics and Computing Ltd might influence his interpretation of epidemiological evidence.1 2 But what is unfair about challenges on the grounds of self evident potential bias? BMJ journals now require a clear statement from authors on conflict of interest.

    Nevertheless Lee has been given the privilege of reply, but he asserts only that he is widely consulted on many issues. Granted, but may we now see an audited statement on the proportion of P N Lee Ltd's gross income from the tobacco industry during the past five years?

    Lee is the author of Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Mortality.3 In his conclusion to the preface of this book he states that “There is …

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