Medical journals need to be more vigilant, analysis suggests
MONDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- A recent analysis of major medical journals has found many potential conflicts of interest between researchers and medical industry companies, raising concern that investigators may at least be tempted to report favorable results to help the financial backers of their work.
The analysis, to be published in the June 15 issue of Cancer and headed by the University of Michigan, looked at more than 1,500 cancer studies published in eight authoritative journals, including Cancer, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet, during a recent year and found:
Researchers are often required to disclose potential conflicts of interest to medical journals when they submit articles, but the lines can get blurry. While taking a consulting fee or holding a job in the companies whose products they are evaluating is an obvious potential conflict of interest, some researchers may knowingly or unknowingly hold stock in the companies, for example.
As a result, the authors of the analysis wrote that "attempts to disentangle the cancer research effort from industry merit further attention, and journals should embrace both rigorous standards of disclosure and heightened scrutiny when conflicts exist."
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer.
-- Kevin McKeever
SOURCE: American Cancer Society, news release, May 11, 2009
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