Their justification is quite hilarious.
Critics may argue—as many did when journals stopped publishing cigarette adverts—that publishing such research does not constitute endorsing its findings and that, as long as funding sources are fully disclosed, readers can consider that information and make up their own minds about the quality of the work. Peer review should prevail, goes this line of thinking: it’s not the editor’s job to make these kinds of judgments.Yes, because we've always been told how brilliant this peer review thing is, haven't we? Now, though, it is apparently shite - glad you cleared that up for us, BMJ.
However, this view ignores the growing body of evidence that biases and research misconduct are often impossible to detect5, and that the source of funding can influence the outcomes of studies in invisible ways6 7.Considering superscripted numbers 5 & 6 refer to research by Mad Stan Glantz - a guy whose bias can be detected by the naked eye by aliens from the farthest galaxies in the universe - this paragraph alone makes one wonder if the BMJ is seeking to reinvent itself as the new Daily Mash.
But their assertion that "the source of funding can influence the outcomes of studies in invisible ways" is funnier than any comic could ever be seeing as they thought it perfectly acceptable to publish, in July, a study celebrating the astounding success of pharmaceutical products ... written by a panel with pharmaceutical funding interests as long as Peter Crouch's arms.
RW is a director of the NCSCT, undertakes research and consultancy for companies that develop and manufacture smoking cessation medications (Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, McNeil, GlaxoSmithKline, Nabi, Novartis, and Sanofi-Aventis), has a share of a patent for a novel nicotine delivery device, and is a trustee of QUIT, a charity that provides stop smoking support;
MW has a share of a patent for a novel nicotine delivery device.
EC previously worked at the English Department of Health as the delivery lead for tobacco control policy, has received travel funding, honorariums, and consultancy payments from manufacturers of smoking cessation products (Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, McNeil, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and Sanofi-Aventis), and receives royalties from a book on smoking cessation and a book on health promotion.
AMcE is a director of the NCSCT, has received travel funding, honorariums, and consultancy payments from manufacturers of smoking cessation products (Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis), receives payment for providing training to smoking cessation specialists, receives royalties from books on smoking cessation, and has a share in a patent of a nicotine delivery device;This, of course, is perfectly OK, and will not influence the study outcome in any way whatsoever. Oh no.
Perhaps the BMJ's press release could have been composed more economically. Instead of a 700+ word article, they could have just announced:
"Henceforth, we have abandoned detached editorial objectivity and are now the pharmaceutical industry's official bitch. We are assured that the rubber restraints and ball gag are in the post".Desperate times for tobacco control and their pharma chums are truly producing some desperate shifting of goal posts, aren't they?