AMA seeks probe of journal editors' actions

Mar 30, 2009 By LINDSEY TANNER , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- The American Medical Association is seeking an investigation of claims that editors of its leading medical journal threatened a whistleblower who pointed out a researcher's conflict of interest.

Editors of the deny threatening a professor who raised concerns about a study author's financial ties to industry - ties that were not disclosed when JAMA published the study last year. JAMA, like most leading medical journals, has a policy of noting a scientist's financial ties to companies whose drugs they are researching.

According to the Wall Street Journal, JAMA threatened to ban the professor from their journal and ruin his medical school's reputation if he didn't stop talking to reporters.

The editors deny that. But the flap prompted them to spell out what amounts to a gag order on anyone who alerts the medical journal about suspicions that a researcher has undisclosed industry ties. The journal editors argue that any suspicions should be kept secret until JAMA can complete its own probe. That is an existing policy, JAMA's editor-in-chief, Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, told The Associated Press on Monday.

AMA journals are independent and the medical association doesn't interfere with what they publish. But AMA said Friday it has asked an independent oversight committee to investigate how JAMA editors handled the issue.

"As owner and publisher of JAMA, we take these concerns very seriously," AMA board chairman Dr. Joseph Heyman said in a written statement.

The issue involves a study published in JAMA last May that said the drug Lexapro prevents depression in stroke patients. A Tennessee university professor who reads JAMA told the editors in October that he had learned that a study author had served as a speaker for Lexapro's maker.

JAMA editors vowed to investigate.

The professor, Jonathan Leo of Lincoln Memorial University, also discussed his concerns in a March 5 letter posted on a different medical journal's Web site.

On March 11, JAMA editors published a correction revealing the undisclosed ties to Lexapro's maker.

JAMA's editors acknowledged in a March 20 editorial being upset about Leo airing his concerns. They argue that publicizing unconfirmed allegations about study authors could unfairly damage reputations and interfere with JAMA's own investigations.

---

On the Net:

American Medical Association: http://www.ama-assn.org

JAMA: http://jama.ama-assn.org

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Amgen misses 1Q views as higher costs cut profit

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Medical journal ethics questioned again

Jul 19, 2006

Another U.S. medical journal ethics case arose this week, this time involving Dr. Charles Nemeroff, the editor of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Study: 'Smart drug' Provigil may be habit-forming

Mar 17, 2009

(AP) -- A so-called "smart drug" popular with young people may carry more of an addiction risk than thought, a small government study suggests. Scans of 10 healthy men showed that the prescription drug Provigil ...

Canadian medical journal editors are fired

Feb 22, 2006

The Canadian Medical Association has fired two of the leading editors of its peer-reviewed journal, reportedly in a dispute over editorial independence.

Recommended for you

Amgen misses 1Q views as higher costs cut profit

22 hours ago

Despite higher sales, biotech drugmaker Amgen's first-quarter profit fell 25 percent as production and research costs rose sharply, while the year-ago quarter enjoyed a tax benefit. The company badly missed ...

Valeant, Ackman make $45.6B Allergan bid

Apr 22, 2014

Valeant Pharmaceuticals and activist investor Bill Ackman have unveiled details of their offer to buy Botox maker Allergan, proposing a cash-and-stock deal that could be worth about $45.6 billion.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cyber buddy is better than 'no buddy'

A Michigan State University researcher is looking to give exercise enthusiasts the extra nudge they need during a workout, and her latest research shows that a cyber buddy can help.

Man among first in US to get 'bionic eye' (Update)

A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision. Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure ...