N – Enough conflicts of interest?

In March the BMJ asked whether the hunt for authors’ conflicts of interests had gone too far. Thomas Stossel argued that restrictions on academics’ interaction with commercial companies damages research because they exclude qualified experts from writing in some journals. They also limit financial rewards that professionals can receive from private companies or even ban corporate consulting, he said. Kirby Lee, however, believes that competing interests “require management to prevent potential bias, or the perception of bias, in medical decision making or research.” Of 443 voters in an online poll 45% agreed that the hunt had gone too far. (BMJ 2008;336:476-7 doi: 10.1136/bmj.39493.489213.AD and doi: 10.1136/bmj.39491.391215.94)