A note I posted last night on the e-patient blog
Marcia Angell MD is a well-known, respected physician, long-time editor of NEJM. So it was a bit of a shock today when Amy Romano, blogger for Lamaze International, sent me this quote:
It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.From Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption in The New York Review of Books, around New Year's.
Dana Blankenhorn of the ZDNet health blog called it "a bombshell." I couldn't agree more. And I must say, with all the smart people in this community, why on earth haven't we heard more about this??
And how on earth are we supposed to be empowered participatory patients if we can't trust the world's leading journal?
For one thing, we can have our eyes wide open about the evidence we're supposed to trust. Get educated. Learn how to read health news reporting – including the journals. Wise up.
Think critically. It's a fundamental part of being an empowered patient.
That's what I posted last night. Then, this morning this happened:
Next week at the Connected Health conference in Boston, we're launching the new Journal of Participatory Medicine. The editorial and advisory boards include some people who, I'm told, have seriously good reputations in medicine, including Richard Smith, 25 year editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal. Unbeknownst to me, he's got a piece in the first edition that mirrors the above. So today, our person who tweets for the Journal, @JourPM, added these notes:
"R.Smith (BMJ) concurs w/M.Angell (NEJM) in launch of J. Partic Med: 'most of what appears in peer reviewed journals is scientifically weak'"
"Peer review must be job of the many rather than the few. This must, indeed, be part of participatory medicine's philosophy. R. Smith"
The first edition of the Journal will go live (online) next week. Subscribe/register (free, open access) here.
No *other* conflict of interest, huh? (11/08)
Negative data on Seroquel suppressed by manufacturer (2/09)
Dr. Reuben deeply regrets that this happened (3/09)