The Journal of the American Medical Association was embarrassed last month. Despite its record of having made strong efforts to require authors to disclose their financial ties to industry, three cases of nondisclosure came to light in quick succession, the first of which was splashed across the front page of The Wall Street Journal (The Chronicle, July 11).
Now the medical journal’s editor in chief, Catherine D. DeAngelis, writes that its decision that same week to strengthen its disclosure requirement had been in the works since the spring, and has been “misinterpreted, misrepresented, or misunderstood” by critics.
Dr. DeAngelis argues that the best way to enforce such policies is to involve academic administrators. Investigations undertaken at her request at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and the University of Nebraska School of Medicine resulted in both conflict-of-interest education for the schools’ faculties and “appropriate corrective actions” for the authors who failed to disclose to the journal their industrial ties, she writes.
At Harvard Medical School, which employs authors in each of the nondisclosure cases from July, the dean told Dr. DeAngelis that he would be writing to all 8,000 faculty members to inform them of the journal’s disclosure policies, and those of another forefront publication, the New England Journal of Medicine.