Judith M. Orvos, Els
WITHOUT A DOUBT, the answer is yes. Results from randomized clinical trials impact the way physicians practice. Readers of medical journals
cannot place such reports into the proper context without complete information about the research. That includes not only
the methods and results, but also the credentials of the investigators and their funding sources. Full disclosure of such
information is the only way physicians can judge the credibility of research underwritten by the pharmaceutical industry.
Janice T. Radak
IT MATTERS DRAMATICALLY to some, some could care less—and that's probably the point of disclosure.
Janice T. Radak
Case in point was a recent cover story by an expert who received consulting fees from the drug manufacturer. Our peer reviewers
allowed the story because a) the author disclosed his relationship, b) he was the pre-eminent expert on the drug and c) he
agreed to make all corrections personally. The peer reviewers felt, as long as the author agreed to those conditions, we shouldn't
pass up the opportunity to have the expert write on the drug, simply because he was a consultant to the manufacturer. After
all, to be the premier expert, he has to have that inside knowledge.
We received a letter calling the article a conflict of interest. The letter said that even though the physician was an expert
in the disease state and the drug, in the letter writer's mind, acceptance of personal financial benefits from industry inherently
compromised the expert's credibility.
We're never going to get around this issue. But the people for whom it bothers bring to the table a healthy skepticism and
that makes everybody examine the process and keeps it above board. Skepticism and science go hand-in-hand.
Mayer Davidson, MD
WE JUDGE MANUSCRIPTS submitted for publication by three criteria regardless of source of funding.
1. Good science (most important)
2. new or relatively new information
3. clinical relevance (current or near term).
Although most don't care about who funds the studies, a few are concerned that the studies are set up to enhance a positive
result. That doesn't mean that they are not carried out well, but that the importance of the result is suspect for clinical
care. But we have to leave it up to the reader to interpret the results and draw their own conclusions.