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Editor's Correspondence
Health Care Reform
January 10, 2011

From Disclosure to Transparency to Action

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(1):94-95. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.485

I read with interest—rather shock—the study by Chimonas and coworkers1 about the lack of disclosure by researchers. I have one simple question: How can a profession as dignified as medicine allow this kind of behavior? This and related behavior is beyond unethical, is embarrassing to the medical profession, and should simply not be tolerated.

As telling as the findings of this study are, there is an even more insidious issue at play here. Conflict is almost certainly more pervasive than believed; even if someone discloses a financial relationship, that certainly does not mean that a conflict does not exist or guarantee that the data published are not biased. These studies are still hitting the presses, and potentially biased information is still published. It seems that authors themselves will not police this. Thus, journals must develop a systematic methodology for controlling conflicts.

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