Mar 30, 2009

a question of trust

I came across this article today on Salon that caught my eye. It seems that one of the most reputable journals of medicine, the JAMA, is angry at a 'whistleblower' who pointed out a potential conflict of interest.

The article states that Dr. Johnathan Leo - a professor with the Lincoln Memorial University in Texas - noticed that the author of an article published in JAMA about Lexapro failed to disclose a financial relationship with Forest Labs, the company who make Lexapro.

I took the time to read JAMA's response and I found them to be quite defensive.

Journals are the 'go to' source for trusted information on health issues. Physicians make prescribing decisions based on information gleaned from the latest journals, patients rely on this information to be neutral and reliable.

It's a question of trust. It is vital that conflicts of interest be illuminated. If my doctor prescribes a medication for me, I want to be certain that their judgement is based on objective, neutral reporting of well designed studies.

I am not saying that the results of the Lexapro study were invalid, only that a lack of disclosure on the part of the author calls the results into question.

Here's hoping that this will be a wake up call for journals and researchers who publish in them.

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