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Jeff Sutherland

Twice the Energy with Half the Stress

New England Journal of Medicine gives up finding independent doctors to write and review articles

The New England Journal of Medicine will relax its conflict-of-interest rules. But Dr. Jerome Kassirer, the former editor of the Journal, says he had no problem finding independent authors.

Conflict of Interest?, 12 June 2002

The New England Journal of Medicine will announce Thursday that it has given up finding truly independent doctors to write and review articles and editorials for it, as a result of the financial ties physicians have with so many drug companies in the United States The Journal says the drug companies’ reach is just too deep. In 2000, the drug industry sponsored more than 314,000 events for physicians — everything from luncheons to getaway weekends — at a cost of almost $2 billion. On top of that, many doctors accept speaking and consulting fees that link them to drug companies.

No publication in this country influences the way your doctor treats an illness more than the New England Journal of Medicine. Since 1812, the Journal has scrutinized and published thousands of clinical studies. These “review” articles on drug therapy that can be pivotal. They tell doctors the strengths and weaknesses of new medications for everything form high blood pressure to obesity to cancer.

Now, the Journal will allow these critical evaluations to be written by people with financial ties to drug companies…