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Turning the tide on conflicts of interest

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 10 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5147
  1. Fiona Godlee, editor, BMJ
  1. fgodlee{at}

The US Food and Drug Administration says it may loosen its conflict of interest policies (doi:10.1136/bmj.d5070). A shortage of independent experts means that its current rule—no more than 13% of advisers with industry ties—is delaying the introduction of new drugs, says its commissioner.

This attack of nerves is reminiscent of the New England Journal of Medicine’s U-turn in 2002, which reversed an earlier ban on commissioning editorials and reviews from authors with ties to industry. The journal said it had found that some fields could not be covered (N Engl J Med 2002;346:1901-2). Since then, like the BMJ and other major journals, it has asked authors to declare their …

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