Commercial influence and the content of medical journals [Open Access]

bmjlogo.gif From the June 17 issue of BMJ: [free full text available online]

Joel Lexchin, Donald W Light. Commercial bias in medical journals: Commercial influence and the content of medical journals. BMJ  2006;332:1444-1447.

How confident should we be in the objectivity of medical journals? Do commercial biases play a part in determining what appears in print?  Authors of articles in medical journals may be affected by commercial bias. Whether this same concern applies to the editors and owners of journals has rarely been critically examined. Our article explores the reasons for concern. We use information in the literature on three important questions. Do financial conflicts of interest affect decisions made by journal editors? Do journals have policies on authors' conflicts of interest, and how well do editors enforce those policies? Do financial considerations affect the content of medical journals? We end with a proposal for future research that would help to advance this debate.

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