Study Funding Should be Made Public

Because private funding of medical research may lead to conflicts of interest in reporting findings, scientific journals should publish funding information along with reports. And financial disclosures, where researchers state any potential personal gain from study findings, should also be published. The authors point out that a recent survey reveals that just 26% of American medical journal editors specifically require that researchers submit information on funding as a precondition to publication.

An even smaller percentage of editors required that authors supply information regarding their personal affiliation (employment or stock ownership, for example) with potentially influential institutions. The financial underpinnings of medical research deserve especially close scrutiny, especially now that competition for public and private research dollars has become fierce. They believe this competition has bred "a more entrepreneurial spirit" among scientists, as well as closer ties between academics and private industry.

The Journal of the American Medical Association July 15, 1998;280:225-226.

COMMENT: This article will go largely unnoticed, but it is at the crux of why you see so much conflicting medical reports in the media. When there are very powerful and wealthy organizations sponsoring the research, they have quite a bit of input as to what is published. When evaluating the results, of a study it is always wise to seek out who funded the research. A bit of self-disclosure may be appropriate now. In case you did not already know, I do not receive any compensation from any organization or company for editing this newsletter.

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