A federal judge in Boston has denied a motion by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer to compel The New England Journal of Medicine to hand over confidential peer reviews and editors’ notes. The decision comes a few weeks after another judge agreed with two other medical journals that they need not reveal their confidential information.
The motions to compel, had they been allowed, would have jeopardized the peer-review process, according to several journal editors. Pfizer requested the documents as part of its defense in a product-liability case involving the arthritis drugs Bextra and Celebrex.
Unlike the other judge’s decision, Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin’s decision found the information sought by Pfizer to be “relevant” but also limited in “probative value.” He also said that the journal should receive protection similar to that enjoyed by journalists. —Lila Guterman