Published research - JAMA
- From: califchief@xxxxxxxxxxx (Califchief)
- Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 22:54:00 -0400
JAMA Says It Was Misled by Researchers Who Failed
to Reveal Financial Ties to Drug Companies
07-12-2006 5:23 PM
By LINDSEY TANNER
CHICAGO -- For the second time in two months,
the Journal of the American Medical Association
says it was misled by researchers who failed to
reveal financial ties to drug companies.
The studies' validity _ and the prestigious
journal's reputation _ are at stake, and JAMA is
tightening its policies for researchers as a result.
"This is costing us," said Dr. Catherine DeAngelis,
JAMA's editor-in-chief. "It's costing us really good
articles and God knows what it's costing us in ads."
But DeAngelis said her main concern is the impact on
readers, who she said need to know about researchers'
financial conflicts of interest to properly evaluate
The latest incident, disclosed in letters to the
editor and a correction in Wednesday's journal,
involves a study showing that pregnant women who
stop taking antidepressants risk slipping back
Most of the 13 authors have financial ties to drug
companies including antidepressant makers, but only
two of the them revealed their ties when the study
was published in February.
Antidepressant use during pregnancy is controversial
and some studies have suggested that the drugs could
pose risks to the fetus.
"For readers to be able to make informed judgments
about potential biases in this study, they should
have been made aware of all of these associations
and potential conflicts of interest," Dr. Adam
Urato of Tufts University-New England Medical
Center, wrote in a letter to JAMA editors.
The earlier incident involved a study in the May 17
journal that said rheumatoid arthritis patients
taking Humira or Remicade faced risks of developing
several cancers and serious infections.
Study co-author Dr. Eric Matteson of Mayo Clinic has
worked with Remicade's maker in developing a similar
new drug and he and co-researcher Dr. Tim Bongartz
have been paid consultants to Abbott for unrelated
work. The ties were not disclosed until after
Matteson called the omissions "errors of oversight,"
not an attempt to conceal, but journal editors asked
the Mayo Clinic to investigate.
DeAngelis said it's not the first time she's reported
authors' omissions to their institutions, and she
hopes it will help curb the practice.
"It would be wonderful if 100 percent of the authors
understand that you have to disclose," DeAngelis said
The authors of the depression study defended their
research in a separate letter to the editor published
Wednesday. Lead author Dr. Lee Cohen, of Massachusetts
General Hospital, who is on the speaker's bureau for
eight drug companies, disputed that such ties could
influence the findings.
The business ties were not disclosed because "we did
not view those associations as relevant" partly
because the research was funded by the government,
Such conflicts are age-old problems haunting medical
journals, which compete to publish the best research.
Dr. Jerome Kassirer, a former New England Journal of
Medicine editor and an outspoken critic of doctors'
conflicts of interest, said it would be impossible
for medical journals to reject all research with
If industry ties were an obstacle to getting research
published, "you'd have no research on drugs," Kassirer
Still, industry-funded drug research tends to have
more favorable results than other studies, and those
ties need to be revealed so readers can have "a
healthy skepticism," he said.
The New England Journal of Medicine also requires
financial disclosures from authors, although not
before accepting an article for publication as JAMA
is now doing, said Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, the journal's
The Center for Science in the Public Interest
recommended Tuesday that editors adopt a three-year
ban from publishing in their journals in failure-to-
But Drazen and DeAngelis said that would be
impractical and unnecessary.
"Editors have very long institutional memories," Drazen
said. "I think that's adequate in this case."
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