Transparency Watchdog Criticizes STAT’s Non-Disclosure of Pro-Pharma Editorial |


Should publications publishing opinion articles tell us more about who wrote the editorial and what their potential biases and conflicts of interest might be?

I’m in the field that responds to a resounding YES.

As long as Bruckner is too. Writes for To transpire, an organization that evaluates “the financial transparency of key think tanks”. He is also the founder of TranspariMED, which “works to end the distortion of evidence in medicine.” His editorial guard work inspired a New York Times column for a public publisher a few years ago, “Hidden interests, closer to home. “

This week he tweeted criticism of STAT News for not revealing more about the author of an editorial criticizing Biden’s possible administration plans evaluate drug therapies. The editorial provides a frightening prediction:

Patient advocates should carefully scrutinize any “independent review committee” commissioned by the Biden administration because it will have a conflict of interest and bias against revolutionary therapies. In this scenario, patients may never receive a potentially life-changing new therapy because it is rated by a partial review committee as having no “quantifiable benefit” based on price alone rather than potentially impactful. to change the life it could have for patients.

This is a radical and fear-sowing accusation – that whatever the review committee that the new administration will appoint will have a bias and a conflict of interest.

What prejudice or conflict of interest does the author of the editorial have?

STAT did not provide that background. Readers are only told that the author is a visiting fellow at the Pioneer Institute in Boston. (Addendum at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 12: Readers were not told that the author, William S. Smith, according to the Institute’s website, “spent ten years at Pfizer Inc as Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy where he was responsible for Pfizer’s corporate strategies for the US political environment. “)

What is the Pioneering Institute? Its website tells you that it is a public policy research think tank whose mission statement supports free enterprise and the free market. Who finances them?

Till Bruckner tweeted this chart and wrote that “it would have been nice (for STAT) to reveal that one of the think tank’s top financiers is Pfizer, especially since their editorial mirror business speaks 100%.” has repeatedly criticized STAT’s editorial policies over the past 3.5 years.

‘One shot at [STAT’s] Credibility: MD listed as author of editorial praising drug reps did not write it. Ghostwriting / PR influence

Another STAT “Breach of Trust”: Patient Praising Drug Ads on TV Says Pharmaceutical Public Relations Firm Asked Her to Write an Editorial

Lowering the Alzheimer’s Drug Bar: STAT Editorial Takes Industry-Friendly Line, Without Revealing Author’s Pharmaceutical Links

In response to some of these criticisms, STAT has revised its guidelines for editorial submissions. But the last example begs the question of whether this has gone far enough.

To be clear, STAT offers exceptional journalism. But in the interest of continuous quality improvement, it should re-examine its editorial and broader policies on conflict of interest.

By the way, I have no financial conflict of interest in this matter, since I have no income or funding for this project.


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