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8/15/2000

Authors' Industry Ties Irk Journal

Cheryl A. Thompson

The authors of a May 18 research article in the New England Journal of Medicine had so many financial ties to industry that the editors published only a summary in print and placed the detailed list on the Web.

Using this case as the basis for an editorial, departing Editor-in-Chief Marcia Angell, M.D., condemned the extent to which academic-based clinical researchers have grown financially dependent on the for-profit pharmaceutical industry, noting the latter's "very different goal from the mission of medical schools." She disputed the reasons most commonly offered to justify financial ties between academic medicine and for-profit industry: improve the movement of new drugs from bench-top to marketplace, and rescue academic medical centers' budgets. 

While not claiming that industry-tied researchers can be "bought," Angell questioned whether they could make scientific judgments free of influence from companies that pay for speaking engagements and stock. 

To view the editorial, go to www.nejm.org/content/2000/0342/0020/1516.asp.