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February 27, 1987

Who Should Test the Testers?

JAMA. 1987;257(8):1051. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390080041023

To the Editor.—  I enjoyed reading the review of therapeutic drug monitoring,1 until I came to the last page. If I ever found that clinical colleagues had been sending "spiked" samples "blind" to this department, then I (not they) would have cause for complaint. How would they react if a family practitioner sent to them "blind," so as to test their sensitivity and accuracy, a patient who had been fully examined elsewhere, clinically, instrumentally, and pathologically?Any laboratory must, I agree, be prepared to show its quality control results to its users—then the clinicians can discuss any problems with the appropriate pathologist, rather than engage in industrial espionage. Any request for laboratory investigation, though usually processed by junior staff on both sides, must be treated at the ethical level of a consultation between clinician and pathologist colleagues.