Drug Company-Supported Symposia: What Should Be Disclosed?

Miller, Ronald D. MD

Anesthesia & Analgesia:
doi: 10.1213/00000539-200008000-00056
Letters to the Editor
Author Information

Editor-in-Chief Anesthesia & Analgesia

We appreciate the thoughtful concerns expressed by Dr. Saidman, the distinguished former Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesiology. Anesthesia & Analgesia has extensively analyzed and debated our policy regarding the publication of supplements. In fact, Dr. Saidman was part of that debate, and interested readers are encouraged to review this debate in Anesthesia & Analgesia (1993;77:651–2 and 1995;81:886). Not only that, the entire issue of supplements has been analyzed extensively and repeatedly by the Editorial Board of Anesthesia & Analgesia and the Board of Trustees of the International Anesthesia Research Society. It is our opinion that a collection of peer-reviewed articles regarding a particular subject or product in one volume can be quite helpful.

Dr. Saidman is quite correct in stating that the required financial information is not listed; it should have been. Certainly, if an individual is a current consultant to Glaxo-Wellcome and/or received payments for publication, this information should have been included. However, we do not require authors to list whether they have received honoraria for making presentations in the past from these companies. As an example of how difficult the entire issue of “financial conflict” can be, many journals, including Anesthesia & Analgesia, and in the past (and maybe the present) Anesthesiology, have given honoraria for publication of review articles or medical intelligence articles. Should these be listed in print?

With regard to the second issue, the articles underwent our standard peer-review process. We have, in the past, rejected entire supplements and rejected one or more articles of a particular supplement. It is not our policy, nor that of any other journal with which I am familiar, to publicly identify rejected articles.

As explained in part when the entire matter was extensively debated in the above-referenced issues of Anesthesia & Analgesia, to “disclose all relationships that might represent a possible conflict of interest” is far easier to require than to achieve. Nevertheless, to the best of my knowledge, we are one of the few anesthesia journals that has openly debated the issue of “financial or conflicting interests.” We appreciate Dr. Saidman’s concerns.

Ronald D. Miller MD

© 2000 International Anesthesia Research Society