New England Journal of Medicine Apologizes

Articles Authored by Writers with Possible Conflicts of Interest

BOSTON, MA-The New England Journal of Medicine issued an apology to its readers for knowingly publishing drug-therapy articles written by authors who had a financial link to drug companies. The letter, signed by Editor Marcia Angell, stated 19 articles in the last three years were found to violate the journal's policy that researchers conduct drug therapy reviews with no financial interest to the drugs or the companies that manufacture them. The Journal's reviews are not original research. Healthcare experts who evaluate the research of others write them. In each instance, the authors disclosed their financial connection prior to publication. Alastair J.J. Wood, the drug therapy section editor, told the authors they could write the reviews because the funding was awarded to their medical facility, not directly to the author. Angell said other editors were aware of Wood's policy, but no one instructed him to alter it. Hence, Wood has not been removed from his position. Angell explained that all the articles passed peer review before publication and do not appear to contain any bias.