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:

Re:Guilty by association?

[Edited by Sharon Davies on 25 August 2011 on legal advice]

James Murdoch, son of Rupert, is in deep water and struggling. [1]

James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation
Europe and Asia, and chairman of BSkyB, apparently has strong ties to the
pharmaceutical industry. In May 2009, Murdoch was appointed a non-
executive director of GSK, to serve on GSK's 'corporate responsibility
committee' with a remit to review "external issues that might have the
potential for serious impact upon the group's business and reputation".

It is now understood that the BMJ Group exists in a 'complex
commercial environment' and the editor of the BMJ has acknowledged the
potential for 'perceived' as well as 'actual' conflicts of interest on the part of BMJ editorial staff over
ties to industry. [3]

May I humbly suggest that the association between a large British
vaccine manufacturer and this particular media baron ... is an unhelpful

[1] James Murdoch: Man of many fabrications and few friends.
Mail&GuardianOnline, Brian Cathcart: Analysis, Aug 19 2011.

[2] Glaxo brings in James Murdoch. Chris Tryhorn, The Guardian,
Tuesday 3 February 2009

[3] Correction: Wakefield's article linking MMR vaccine and autism
was fraudulent. BMJ 2011; 342:d1678 (Published 15 March 2011).

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 August 2011
GP and prison doctor
Bedfordshire, UK