Tuesday, 19 January 2010

An honest conflict of interest statement

What represents a conflict of interest for those who write studies about tobacco control? Some people would think that being a professional 'secondhand smoke consultant', receiving money from the makers of nicotine replacement drugs or being a member of a hardcore anti-smoking group would be worth mentioning if the individual is working on research that might lead to legislation. 

In practise, such interests are rarely mentioned as potential sources of financial or emotional bias. Dr Kamal Chaouachi has taken a very different approach in his recent study published in Medical Hypotheses. Instead of simply saying 'no conflict of interest', Chaouachi has opted for full disclosure, including all those Big Pharma ties that others overlook. In doing so, he hints at what a full conflict of interest statement might look like if those working in tobacco control went to the same trouble. 


Anonymous said...

Here's an example of lack of clarity. The staff of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies list their interests here.
Several detail links with drug companies, but not John Britton of ASH UK. Yet here:
he declares,
"Competing interests: JB has collaborated in a multicentre randomised clinical trial comparing varenicline with nicotine replacement therapy funded by Pfizer, and has consulted for a company developing a nicotine vaccine."

Ben said...

Peer-review is no guarantee for unbiased science. Often, the peer-reviewers know each others and the author (or recognize him easily).Peer-reviewers often are biased too, most, if not all of them probably participate in the Globalink as well.