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N.E. Journal of Medicine Eases Conflict Rules

June 13, 2002|From Associated Press

BOSTON — The New England Journal of Medicine is relaxing its strict conflict-of-interest rules for authors of certain articles because it cannot find enough experts without financial ties to drug companies.

The change, announced in today's issue, applies to experts who write either editorials or review articles, which are overviews of research on a particular drug or treatment, rather than original studies.

Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen, the journal's editor in chief, said the policy reflects the way drugs are developed .

"New treatments are brought out by investigators whose research is in part supported by industry.

"They're the ones who know about new stuff," he said.

The change brings the journal's policy into line with that of other medical publications such as the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

Original studies in the New England Journal of Medicine will continue to include a note saying who sponsored the research and disclosing any financial stake the author might have.

The change comes at a time when the credibility of medical journals is under fire.

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