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Conflicts of Interest, Authorship, and Disclosures in Industry-Related Scientific Publications: The Tort Bar and Editorial Oversight of Medical Journals

      In recent years, Mayo Clinic Proceedings has published a variety of articles dealing with important, broad-reaching matters of societal interest that impact medicine and patient care. Topics included ideal physician behaviors, gender and medical career mentoring, advance directives and end-of-life issues, physician involvement in capital punishment, and, germane to this article, institutional conflicts of interest (COIs), as well as the journal's approach to publication of industry-sponsored clinical research.
      • Menaker R
      • Bahn RS
      How perceived physician leadership behavior affects physician satisfaction.
      • Lanier WL
      • Rose SH
      The contemporary medical community: leadership, mentorship, and career choices [editorial].
      • Mayer AP
      • Files JA
      • Ko MG
      • Blair JE
      Academic advancement of women in medicine: do socialized gender differences have a role in mentoring?.
      • Sherazi S
      • Daubert JP
      • Block RC
      • et al.
      Physicians' preferences and attitudes about end-of-life care in patients with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
      • Cohen NH
      Advance directives: know what you want, get what you need [editorial].
      • Waisel D
      Physician participation in capital punishment.
      • Caplan AL
      Should physicians participate in capital punishment?.
      • Lanier WL
      • Berge KH
      Physician involvement in capital punishment: simplifying a complex calculus.
      • Camilleri M
      • Cortese DA
      Managing conflict of interest in clinical practice.
      • Stossel TP
      Divergent views on managing clinical conflicts of interest [letter].
      • Romano TJ
      Divergent views on managing clinical conflicts of interest [letter].
      • Camilleri M
      • Cortese DA
      Divergent views on managing clinical conflicts of interest [letter reply].
      • Holtby S
      • Wakewich P
      Publication of market-driven research in medical journals [letter].
      • Yawn BP
      Publication of market-driven research in medical journals [letter reply].
      • Lanier WL
      Editor's note: industry support of articles published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
      Equally important to the well-being of patients and of medicine is the legitimacy of interactions between industry sponsors of research and investigator-authors who communicate the information and the journals/editors who review and ultimately determine publication of the material. In this age of transparency, disclosure of COIs has assumed great prominence in medical journals. However, transparency is not always clear, disclosure policies are varied, and their implementation (by journals and medical societies) is asymmetric and biased. This commentary examines some prominent recent actions by consultants to plaintiffs' attorneys and a series of publications in 3 top-tier general medical journals that illustrate selective and incomplete disclosure of conflicts—both financial and otherwise. In my view, these events call into question actions by a medical specialty society with one of the consultants and, more broadly, the editorial practices at the journals concerning COIs. Specific recommendations are offered to address the latter.
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