Two former top editors of the New England Journal of Medicine and its former national correspondent have come out swinging against a recent three-part series in NEJM that called into question current conflict of interest policies at medical journals and on government advisory committees, such as those at the Food and Drug Administration.
They also expressed concern that the current editor of the journal, Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, may be contemplating a "further weakening of the conflict of interest policy at the NEJM."
In an essay released today by the British Medical Journal, former editors Dr. Jerome Kassirer and Dr. Marcia Angell and former national correspondent Dr. Robert Steinbrook called the series by Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum "seriously flawed," an "inflammatory attack on conflict of interest policies and regulations," and "rambling." It also accused its author of "indulg(ing) in personal attacks on those who disagree."
And that was just the first paragraph of the piece (PDF).
Reflecting on their own tenures as NEJM editors, and given the amount of money now flowing to physicians from drug and device manufacturers, they write that "in 1990, it was a bad idea for authors of editorials, review articles, and other opinion articles in medical journals to have financial conflicts of interest. A quarter of a century later, it is a very bad idea."