Economic ties that could bias drug trials and patient care might remain hidden due to tangled disclosure rules at medical journals, a new study reveals.
Researchers found that of 131 cancer journals, only 112 had policies requiring researchers to state conflicts of interest, such as drugmaker stock ownership or speaker fees. And among journals that did have such policies, the rules were all over the map.
“Journals can’t even agree on what a conflict of interest means,” said Dr. Aaron S. Kesselheim of the Harvard Medical School in Boston. “It is certainly confusing to authors and to readers.”
Scores of studies have shown that when researchers have a financial stake in their work, their reports are more likely to promote drugs and downplay side effects.
Medicynical note: It’s hard not to be a little cynical. There’s nothing new here. We’ve the perfect system to make money not to deliver effective health care. In our country big money trumps reason.