Journals, authors cited for conflicts of interest
By Robert Davis, USA TODAY
Some leading scientific and medical journals do not always enforce their conflict of interest policies with the authors of published studies, according to a new report.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that in some cases the journals did not disclose contributing authors' financial conflicts of interest even though the journals' own rules require such disclosures.
"There is a consistent pattern here," says Merrill Goozner, CSPI project director. "This is an unacceptable level, and the journals need to take action."
The findings come amid growing concern over the influence that private industry has on scientific research. For example, journal editors, including those responsible for some of the content that was studied by CSPI, are considering requiring drug companies to register all clinical trials in a database for more accountability.
The study examined 163 articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, TheJournal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Environmental Health Perspectives, and Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology and found that the authors of 13 articles had relevant conflicts of interest that were not reported to readers.