N – Peer reviews stay private

The New England Journal of Medicine has been told by a federal magistrate that it does not have to hand over peer reviews to the drug company Pfizer. The company recently issued subpoenas to try to force journals to disclose confidential peer reviews and other materials relating to studies of its painkillers Celebrex (celecoxib) and Bextra (valdecoxib), which are the subject of lawsuits. Three weeks ago an Illinois judge ruled against Pfizer after it issued almost identical subpoenas to JAMA and the Archives of Internal Medicine. (Nature 2008;452:677; doi: 10.1038/452677d)