Intended for healthcare professionals

Letter

JAMA's policy on industry sponsored studies

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7534.177 (Published 19 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:177

Constant Gardener Syndrome

The main objection I have to the JAMA policy is not that it requires
independent validation of analysis but that it only appears to require it
for pharmaceutical industry sponsored studies. There have been a whole
host of examples ranging from McBride's 'studies' of debendox to the
recent case of stem cell research in South Korea, where 'academic'
researchers appear to have falsified data. Academics (and I am one) are
subject to many pressures ranging from desire for fame to need to get
tenure to ambition for promotion. These 'interests' are extremely
important but go largely unrecognised. Hardly any contributers to medical
journals ever declare them.

As a statistician and a sceptic I am not against distrust but I am
against selective distrust. If distrust is our currency we need to make it
universal and apply it to academics and journal editors as well. To make
an apposite analogy, the 'Constant Gardener Syndrome' from which our
society suffers is to take it as axiomatic that the pharmaceutical
industry is uniquely corruptible by motive whilst forgetting that authors
of thrillers as well as film producers, directors and actors also make a
living.

Post stem-cell meltdown, what justification does JAMA have for giving
academics a free ride?

Competing interests:
The author consults regularly for the pharmaceutical industry His academic career has been considerably furthered by publication.

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 January 2006
Stephen J Senn
Professor of Statistics
Department of Statistics, University of Glasgow, UK, G12 8QQ