Intended for healthcare professionals

CCBYNC Open access

High reprint orders in medical journals and pharmaceutical industry funding: case-control study

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 28 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4212
  1. Adam E Handel, clinical fellow12,
  2. Sunil V Patel, surgical resident34,
  3. Julia Pakpoor, medical student12,
  4. George C Ebers, professor of neurology12,
  5. Ben Goldacre, clinical research fellow3,
  6. Sreeram V Ramagopalan, research fellow356
  1. 1Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (Clinical Neurology), University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  4. 4Department of Surgery, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON, Canada
  5. 5Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and Medical Research Council Functional Genomics Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  6. 6Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: S V Ramagopalan s.ramagopalan{at}
  • Accepted 27 April 2012


Objectives To assess the extent to which funding and study design are associated with high reprint orders.

Design Case-control study.

Setting Top articles by size of reprint orders in seven journals, 2002-09.

Participants Lancet, Lancet Neurology, Lancet Oncology (Lancet Group), BMJ, Gut, Heart, and Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (BMJ Group) matched to contemporaneous articles not in the list of high reprint orders.

Main outcome measures Funding and design of randomised controlled trials or other study designs.

Results Median reprint orders for the seven journals ranged from 3000 to 126 350. Papers with high reprint orders were more likely to be funded by the pharmaceutical industry than were control papers (industry funding versus other or none: odds ratio 8.64, 95% confidence interval 5.09 to 14.68, and mixed funding versus other or none: 3.72, 2.43 to 5.70).

Conclusions Funding by the pharmaceutical industry is associated with high numbers of reprint orders.


  • We thank Richard Horton and Astrid James at the Lancet, Helen Frankish at Lancet Neurology, and Fiona Godlee, Trish Groves, and Alison Walker at the BMJ for their openness in providing data on reprints.

  • Contributors: SVR conceived and designed the study. SVP analysed the data. AEH, SVP, JP, GCE, BG, and SVR interpreted the data. AEH and SVR drafted the article. BG and SVR contributed equally to this paper. SVR is guarantor. All authors revised the article and give final approval for publication. No funding bodies had any role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at (available on request from the corresponding author) and declare: no support from any organisation for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; BG has written articles and books on the activities of the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Ethical approval: Not required.

  • Data sharing: No additional data available.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

View Full Text