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October 2001

Editor's Note

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001;127(10):1178. doi:10.1001/archotol.127.10.1178

Almost no one in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery (OHNS) is exempt from some kind of conflict of interest in reporting or interpreting research information. The problem of influence is often internal and potentially high when we, as surgeons, describe new procedures that advance our individual technical value. External influence can be enormous when it is pushed by instrument or drug company venture. What we study, interpret, and write for head and neck medicine is passed on to the rest of medicine because of the high incidence and prevalence of OHNS patient complaints. Although we are a small number of specialists, our writings influence many. Previous editorial policy, stated by Catherine DeAngelis et al (JAMA. 2001;286:89-91), reflects a need to acknowledge the influence that drug companies have exerted on medical research reporting. The JAMA September 12, 2001, editorial reprinted below (JAMA. 2001;286:1232-1234) states how the American Medical Association's journals intend to minimize such effects. The drug company's influential tint is darkest when the prize is recognition as the drug of choice for treatment of chronic disease in large populations, yet we in OHNS are not exempt from the same potential stain. It is important for otolaryngology to embrace the same policies as set forth in Dr DeAngelis' editorials and understand the need for this added level of scrutiny, care, and public disclosure. The ARCHIVES is committed to providing the highest level of accuracy, precision, and honesty in reporting the science of OHNS and medicine.

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