Letters to the Editor
Comment From the Editor-in-Chief:
Reports from readers to the Editors and a letter from Duane M. Smith, MD, alerted us to a potential conflict of interest in a Rapid Communications article authored by Jon D. Kaiser, MD, and colleagues.1 As detailed in his letter,2 Dr. Smith points out several issues that bear comment. Most important is the fact acknowledged by Dr. Kaiser in his correspondence3 that he “neglected” to inform the Editors of the journal of this conflict. Disclosure of conflicts is important throughout the editorial review process because scientific analyses show a bias toward favorable research results when clinical trials are funded by the company likely to benefit financially.4,5 Thus, it is important that conflicts be made known to the editorial staff and the peer reviewer to look for biases in the analysis (eg, high rates of discontinuation of subject participation) that result in exclusion of subjects whose data do not support product efficacy. Additionally, there are research subject ethics concerns when an investigator who conducts a trial has a financial interest in the research outcome,6,7 and the consent process should disclose this potential conflict. The Editors reiterate the importance of disclosure of conflicts as part of the author submission process (http://www.jaids.com/).
William A. Blattner, MD
Editor-in-Chief Journal of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndromes (Epidemiology) Institute of Human Virology University of Maryland Baltimore, MD
1. Kaiser JD, Campa AM, Ondercin JP, et al. Micronutrient supplementation increases CD4 count in HIV-infected individuals on highly active antiretroviral therapy: a prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr
2. Smith DM. Response to “Micronutrient supplementation increases CD4 count in HIV-infected individuals on highly active antiretroviral therapy: a prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.” J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr
. (In press).
3. Kaiser J. Response to “Micronutrient supplementation increases CD4 count in HIV-infected individuals on HAART: a prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.” J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr
. (In press).
4. Bekelman JE, Li Y, Gross CP. Scope and impact of financial conflicts of interest in biomedical research: a systematic review. JAMA
5. Jorgensen AW, Hilden J, Gotzsche PC. Cochrane reviews compared with industry-supported and other meta-analyses of the same drugs-secondary publication [in Danish]. Ugeskr Laeger
6. Weinfurt KP, Friedman JY, Dinan MA, et al. Disclosing conflicts of interest in clinical research: views of institutional review boards, conflict of interest committees, and investigators. J Law Med Ethics
7. Weinfurt KP, Friedman JY, Allsbrook JS, et al. Views of potential research participants on financial conflicts of interest: barriers and opportunities for effective disclosure. J Gen Intern Med