Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

Turning the tide on conflicts of interest

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 10 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5147

Rapid Response:

End competing interests in editorialists

No one who has conflicts of interest with industry or any other
proprietary entity (personal corporation, etc.) should write editorials.
Editorials are very powerful documents. For many of our medical
decisions, too many of us are 'replicators', that is we accept the word
about the best evidence from experts. Many of us are as likely to read
and believe the editorial that accompanies a study rather than critically
reading the study or waiting for the systematic review article to be
published. Face it, we don't have the time to critically read every
article that might impact our practice. This should be the editorialist's
task. That person has the time to do these critical reviews and the
editorial should reflect that. They should not be telling us about what
the industry thinks is the best way to do things.

It is true that industry COI is only one of many types of COI. There
have been enough research abuses by scientists who are not in the pay of
industry or any proprietary organization. Fame and honor are always
motives that will spur researchers to try and make their conclusions seem
like more than they actually are. However, the power of commercial
(money) interests is just too strong, and should be resisted whenever

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 August 2011
Dan M. Mayer
Professor of Emergency Medicine
Albany Medical College