Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Medical journals and industry ties: Zero tolerance on education articles with financial links to industry

The BMJ was one of the first medical journals to seek
declarations of competing interests from authors. Our focus is
on financial competing interests as we believe these to be the
most identifiable. We do, however, understand that competing
interests come in many forms and we also routinely ask authors
to declare relevant non-financial competing interests. The
governing principle has been that transparency is a panacea.1
We placed faith in this principle, but mounting experience and
evidence tell us that we were only half right.2 Transparency
remains essential, but it isn’t sufficient to eliminate bias or
perception of bias.
We believe this risk of bias is particularly important for clinical
educational articles that are designed to guide patient care, when
authors’ biases may be less visible to general medical readers.
For some years we have sought to minimise as well as declare
competing interests for these articles. Recently we introduced
more active management of competing interests, requiring
authors to complete a more detailed declaration and excluding
authors with close ties. Now we have decided to go a step
further, as heralded three years ago.

Read more of this article in BMJ:

doi: 10.1136/bmj.g7197 (Published 28 November 2014)

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