Intended for healthcare professionals


Reed Elsevier's arms trade

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 15 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:547
  1. Charles Young, editor (,
  2. Fiona Godlee, editor fgodlee@bmj.com2
  1. 1BMJ Clinical Evidence, London WC1H 9JR
  2. 2BMJ, BMA House

    Scientific communities must work together to prevent the sale of arms

    In a recent editorial in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Richard Smith drew attention once again to the paradoxical and disturbing association between Reed Elsevier, a huge global publishing company, and the international arms trade.1 While promoting world health through its publications, including the Lancet, Reed Elsevier also organises international trade fairs for the arms industry. By facilitating the sale of armaments, Reed Elsevier is directly implicated in causing untold damage to health. This hypocrisy is well illustrated by Smith's “absurd” example of an imaginary tobacco company that publishes health journals to increase tobacco sales. Sadly, his example is neither absurd nor imaginary. In 2005, an article in the Lancet reported undisclosed relations between the tobacco industry and the health related journal Indoor and Built Environment.2

    Reed Elsevier's purpose in publishing the Lancet and other health related journals is not to covertly support arms trade revenues. Reed Elsevier, like any other company, aims to make money through business activities …

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