Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Judging benefits and harms of medicines

We want to gain the public’s trust, but are we listening to them?

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 20 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4203
  1. P J Gordon, psychiatrist for older adults,
  2. S F Gordon, general practitioner
  1. Bridge of Allan FK9 4AX, UK
  1. pgsg{at}

In his response to the editorial by Freer and Godlee on judging the benefits and harms of medicines, Robinson effectively says that we can only gain the trust of the public if we listen to them.12 We could not agree more.

One of us (PJG) raised a petition with the Scottish parliament to consider a Sunshine Act for Scotland, and as part of this a consultation was undertaken with the Scottish public.3 The majority of those consulted agreed that it should be mandatory for all financial conflicts of interest to be declared on a public register.

The Academy of Medical Sciences has gone no further than recommending the development of “frameworks for declaring and managing interests.”1 This will do nothing to restore the public’s trust.



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