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Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies

  • Richard Smith
  • Published: May 17, 2005
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020138

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Little fish are less likely to take the bait

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:42 GMT

Author: Harvey Marcovitch
Position: Medical editor
Institution: BMJ Publishing Group
E-mail: h.marcovitch@btinternet.com
Submitted Date: May 19, 2005
Published Date: May 19, 2005
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

One solution for fair-minded doctors might be to keep away from major high-impact journals and subscribe instead to those with a lower profile but which serves their specialty.

I analysed all original papers published in the last 12 issues of Archives of Disease in Childhood. Of 198 such papers, there were 7 (3.5%) manufacturer-funded studies dealing with drugs, vaccines or infant foods. Another 10 papers (5%) dealt with drugs or vaccines, including 3 reports of adverse events, but were not funded by industry. The funding of 1 was obscure.

This pristine record was somehat spoiled by a sponsored supplement, clearly labelled as such, about a particular medication. It provoked an angry correspondence on the subscribers message board of one of the co-publishers.

It seems that at least paediatrics, a far-away specialty of which Smith may know little, treads a careful path.

Competing interests declared: I was editor of Archives of Disease in Childhood for 9 years and am now associate editor for the BMJ. I have no pharmaceutical company sponsorship.