Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Seven Ways Medical Conflicts of Interest Are Disguised

From a November 22, 2010 blog item by Martha Rosenberg

Still, disclosure is tricky for medical journals whose lifeblood is often drug ads and reprints of articles for drug companies to pass out to physicians. Here are some of the ways conflicts of interest are finessed. 

Omnibus Disclosure. All of a study’s authors are listed with all the pharma links in one block of solid type. Who goes with whom? You’ll never know, but the author with no links sure isn’t happy about shared guilt. 

Initials. “R.L.T. has consulted for Merck” is set in 8-point type at the end of the article. Will readers return to the study’s start, five pages ago, where there are eight authors, four with first names that begin with R? 

Disclosures You Have to Work For. COIs of CME faculty are often given online, but the information is tucked away in a pull-down, scroll menu. It is user-unfriendly—like the drug side effects found on the scrolling ads on the same site. 

One Disclosure Is Enough. When a previous article is cited in journal letters sections, the author disclosures are said to “be found with the original article.” Surely you have that issue, published four months ago, on your desk. 

Protective Coloring. Disclosures of drug company links are embedded between government grants and charitable foundations. Government grants and charitable foundations are not conflicts of interest. 

Paying Customers Only. Twenty million citations of medical literature appear on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website. Many have authors’ institutions and e-mails. But do the abstracts show COIs? Not unless you’re a paid subscriber. Password please. 

Paying Customers Only, Even When You Are Reading a Hard Copy. In hard copies of the Aug. 5 New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the disclosures of authors of “Suicide-Related Events in Patients Treated with Antiepileptic Drugs” are absent and said to be found with the “full text” of the article at 

November 29, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

Paying for access to medical journals

From a November 2010 Kevin MD blog item

by Josh Herigon, MPH

I’m not sure about the validity of this study: Free Access to U.S. Research Papers Could Yield $1 Billion in Benefits.

Quantifying how much money will be saved by increased efficiency due to open access seems like fuzzy math at best. However, we do need better access to medical journal articles. As a researcher, I’ve constantly fought the battle against firewalled journals. I am fortunate to be part of a university that has excellent access to most of the published medical research I need. But I still come across what is the researchers’ equivalent of the “blue screen of death”: the “login or purchase this individual article for $30″ screen.

The author goes on to explain why he does not buy individual articles. He also has recommendations for publishers (as consortiums and open access after a short embargo period).

As I blogged earlier, please keep in mind that many medical journal articles can be obtained at little or no cost. A great place to start is a local public or academic library. If they do not have it, they can often obtain it from another library for you at little or no cost.
For other suggestions, please go to How to obtain free/low cost medical articles in medical and scientific journals

November 29, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources | , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: