Taking Researcher-Industry Conflicts To Heart

Cartoon doctor"After learning that researchers for two studies it published this year didn't reveal financial ties to the maker of heart-surgery equipment that they evaluated favorably," the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery decided to go beyond publishing corrections that "reveal the financial ties of the researchers to AtriCure Inc." The American Association of Thoracic Surgery, which owns the journal, said they will impose "tougher sanctions" when authors don't disclose ties, including barring "individuals and their institutions from publishing in the journal for 'some period of time.'" As links between researchers and industry increase, medical journals are trying "to really improve disclosure and to really improve independence," said Dr. Kevin Schulman. The Journal of the American Medical Association gives "extra scrutiny" to authors who previously failed to disclose relationships. The New England Journal of Medicine handles conflicts on "a case-by-case basis."