Disclosure of Authors' Conflicts of Interest: A Follow-Up
New England Journal of Medicine:
"We regret our failure to apply our policy correctly. Steps have been
taken...[our] editors in Boston were aware [of these conflicts]" -NEJM. A
major blow to the credibility of this prestigious medical publication. Also
a blow to the credibility of the scientists and the pharmaceutical industry
and their gray-area pay-offs. What other corners are these people cutting
with our health? Adds more gasoline to the vaccine controversy fires. Whom
do we trust, if not the institutions of medical science and industry? The
FEAT newsletter ran a detailed report on the unusual powers of medical
journals only last Sunday. -ls
New England Journal of Medicine -- February 24, 2000 -- Vol. 342, No. 8
We noted in the November 18 issue (1) that Dr. Vera Price, the author
of a Drug Therapy article published in the September 23 issue, (2) had
received major research support through her university from companies that
manufactured drugs discussed in her article and that she had recently
consulted for those companies. Although she informed us of these
arrangements at the time her article was solicited, we failed to respond in
accordance with our conflict-of-interest policy, which would have
Because of the inconsistency between our stated policy and practice in
this case, we reviewed the files and spoke with the authors of the Drug
Therapy articles published since January 1, 1997, to determine whether there
were similar inconsistencies. We have now completed our review.
We found 18 instances in which one or more authors of Drug Therapy
articles received major research support through their institutions from
relevant companies or served as consultants for those companies at the time
they were invited to prepare their articles. The authors had informed us of
these arrangements, and the editors in Boston were aware of them and
approved them. The list is as follows:
Lemon S, Thomas DL. Vaccines to prevent viral hepatitis. N Engl J
Med 1997;336:196-204. Dr. Lemon received grants from SmithKline Beecham
Hoofnagle JH, Di Bisceglie AM. The treatment of chronic viral
hepatitis. N Engl J Med 1997;336:347-56. Drs. Hoofnagle and Di Bisceglie
received grants and other support from Abbott Laboratories, Chiron, Eli
Lilly, Glaxo Wellcome, Roche, Schering-Plough, and Viratek.
Delmas PD, Meunier PJ. The management of Paget's disease of bone.
N Engl J Med 1997;336:558-66. Drs. Delmas and Meunier received grants from
Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck, Novartis, Procter & Gamble, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer
Pharmaceuticals, and Sanofi.
Quagliarello VJ, Scheld WM. Treatment of bacterial meningitis. N
Engl J Med 1997;336:708-16. Drs. Quagliarello and Scheld received grants
from Pfizer and Roche.
Holleman F, Hoekstra JBL. Insulin lispro. N Engl J Med
1997;337:176-83. Dr. Holleman received grants from Eli Lilly and Hoeschst
Rudick RA, Cohen JA, Weinstock-Guttman B, Kinkel RP, Ransohoff
RM. Management of multiple sclerosis. N Engl J Med 1997;337:1604-11. Drs.
Rudick, Cohen, Kinkel, and Ransohoff received grants from Athena
Neurosciences, Berlex Laboratories, Biogen, Connective Therapeutics, and
Eastell R. Treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. N Engl J Med
1998;338:736-46. Dr. Eastell received grants from and served as an advisor
to Eli Lilly and Procter & Gamble and served as an advisor to Novartis and
SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals.
Flexner C. HIV-protease inhibitors. N Engl J Med 1998;
338:1281-92. Dr. Flexner received grants from Abbott Laboratories and
Hortobagyi GN. Treatment of breast cancer. N Engl J Med
1998;339:974-84. Dr. Hortobagyi received grants from Bristol-Myers Squibb
and Targeted Genetics.
Alward WLM. Medical management of glaucoma. N Engl J Med
1998;339:1298-307. Dr. Alward received a grant from Alcon Laboratories.
Osborne CK. Tamoxifen in the treatment of breast cancer. N Engl J
Med 1998;339:1609-18. Dr. Osborne received a grant from and served as a
consultant to AstraZeneca.
Drazen JM, Israel E, O'Byrne PM. Treatment of asthma with drugs
modifying the leukotriene pathway. N Engl J Med 1999;340:197-206. Drs.
Drazen, Israel, and O'Byrne received grants from and served as advisors to
AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Glaxo Wellcome, Merck, Schering-Plough,
Sepracor, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, and 3M.
Elia J, Ambrosini PJ, Rapoport JL. Treatment of
attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder. N Engl J Med 1999;340:780-8. Dr.
Elia received grant support from Celegene.
Steinberg MH. Management of sickle cell disease. N Engl J Med
1999;340:1021-30. Dr. Steinberg received a grant from Theradex.
Swift RM. Drug therapy for alcohol dependence. N Engl J Med
1999;340:1482-90. Dr. Swift received grants from Dupont, Lipha, and Pfizer.
Knopp R. Drug treatment of lipid disorders. N Engl J Med
1999;341:498-511. Dr. Knopp received grants from Bayer, Bristol-Myers
Squibb, Kos Pharmaceuticals, Merck, Parke-Davis, Pfizer, and Wyeth-Ayerst.
Ferris FL III, Davis MD, Aiello LM. Treatment of diabetic
retinopathy. N Engl J Med 1999;341:667-78. Dr. Davis received grants from
Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, Miravant Medical Technologies, Novartis,
and Roche, and Dr. Aiello received a grant from Eli Lilly.
Vance ML, Mauras N. Growth hormone therapy in adults and
children. N Engl J Med 1999;341:1206-16. Dr. Vance received grants from Eli
Lilly and Pharmacia-Upjohn, and Dr. Mauras received grants from Alkermes,
Eli Lilly, Genentech, Merck, Pharmacia-Upjohn, and Wyeth-Ayerst.
We regret our failure to apply our policy correctly. Steps have been
taken to ensure against any recurrence.
Marcia Angell, M.D. Robert D. Utiger, M.D. Alastair J.J. Wood, M.D.
1. Price VH, Angell M, Wood AJJ. Authors' conflicts of interest: a
disclosure and editors' reply. N Engl J Med 1999;341:1618-9.
2. Price VH. Treatment of hair loss. N Engl J Med 1999;341:964-73.
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