Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Statins for people at low risk

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 21 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3908

Rapid Response:

Pharma, free lunches, and the BMJ.

It is interesting to learn, thanks to digging by Collins, that the BMJ receives about £7.5M annually, from Pharma.
Especially when one rereads Dr Godlee’s advice a decade ago, “Say no to the free lunch“, wherein she writes about “ pigs in white coats lunching and golfing with weasel drug reps. “
The article ends, “ just say no “. (1)

Marcia Angell, one time editor of the NEJM, has been a powerful voice exposing medical and pharmaceutical corruption, particularly through her articles in the New York Review of Books (2,3,4). No surprise that her name appears less often in leading medical journals. Seven years ago she wrote in the BMJ, “ The relationship between the drug industry, academia, health care professionals and patients has reached an all time low. “ (5)
She explained why, in terms that make one smile, and wonder if the BMJ happened to be enjoying a £7.5M Pharma supplement in that financial year, too ?

Angell has pointed out that “ The problems I’ve discussed are not limited to psychiatry, although they reach their most florid forms there .“ (2)

Gøtzsche has taken an even deeper and more detailed look at psychotropic prescribing. (6) He co-founded the Cochrane Collaboration in 1993. The contents of “Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial “ are of massive importance to those who take, or might take, psychtropics. Many people who market and prescribe those drugs may prefer the book goes unnoticed. It has been scarcely mentioned in the BMJ.
Psychotropics are huge earners for Pharma.

In the past decade the BMJ has given a platform to senior colleagues who have demeaned themselves by insulting and abusing medical homeopaths, making the provision of effective homeopathic services more problematic. There has been no response to repeated requests that the BMJ explain it’s attitude.
Homeopathy is no more of an immediate threat to Pharma than a mosquito on an elephant’s ear, but swotted they may be. By elephant or keeper.

1 Editor’s Choice. BMJ 2005;330:0-g
2 New York Review of Books January 15 2009
3 NYRB June 23 2011
4 NYRB July 14 2011
5 Relationships with the drug industry. BMJ2009;338:b222
6 Peter C Gøtzsche, Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial. People’s Press 2015
7 Double Standards, or a variety of editorial views, at the BMJ ?

Competing interests: Not met a drug rep for 25 years. Often abused in this place. Peripatetic homeopath, no private practice.

09 January 2017
Noel Thomas
BronyGarn, Maesteg, Wales CF34 9AL