Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature ­Review of the Decade

Ten years of investigative journalism

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 12 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6892
  1. Rebecca Coombes, head of news and views
  1. The BMJ
  1. rcoombes{at}

Investigative journalism at The BMJ over the past decade has unearthed research fraud and misconduct, prompted improvements in transparency of clinical research, led to changes in guidelines and clinical practice, and triggered parliamentary inquiries in the EU and UK. Rebecca Coombes gives some highlights


Our investigation1 highlighted the fact that billions of dollars had been spent by governments on stockpiling influenza drugs during the global pandemic in 2009 but without any independent analysis of the underlying clinical trial data that showed the drugs worked as advertised. Our story followed the efforts of a Cochrane review team2 that was unable to access unpublished trial data for the neuraminidase inhibitors oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). This led to a promise from oseltamivir’s manufacturer Roche to release the data, a promise the company did not initially keep. We launched our first Open Data campaign to keep the matter in the public spotlight. This helped galvanise a …

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