Major Medical Journal No Longer to Silence Whistleblowers

A recent move by a major medical journal could provide more timely disclosure of alleged undisclosed conflicts of interests between researchers and pharmaceutical companies. The Wall Street Journal reported July 7, 2009, that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has softened its policy demanding that anyone filing a complaint about unreported conflicts of interest must not reveal the information to third parties or the media while the investigation is underway. In an editorial published early in July in JAMA, editors modified the policy so that it does not explicitly require silence during the investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

JAMA has been criticized “for taking five months to acknowledge that a study it published last year on the use of antidepressants in stroke patients was written by a University of Iowa psychiatrist who failed to disclose he had a financial relationship with the maker of the drug studied,” according to the article.

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