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Famed Medical Journal Relaxes Conflicts Provisions

By® Staff

Originally Posted

Perhaps it's a sign of the times, but the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has given in to industry practice and relaxed its long-standing conflict-of-interest rules.

Published by the Massachusetts Medical Society, the journal has long been recognized as having one of the strictest conflicts-of-interest codes of any medical publication.

The journal hopes the change will allow prompt dissemination of information about drugs that only have been studied in industry-sponsored trials. Their justification: Even if the objectivity of the authors is compromised, physicians still would be getting the information directly from the pharmaceutical companies.

Editor Jeffrey M. Drazen said the journal was losing valuable information to competitive publications that had less stringent conflict-of-interest provisions, preventing the New England Journal from evaluating breakthroughs nearing FDA approval.

A couple of prior editors decried the move as a possible overreaction to a drop in circulation, with the potential to undermine the publication's credibility.

Pharm cos, let 'er rip!

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