Financial disclosures: Readers’ right to know
In “Stimulant danger diffused” (Letters, Current Psychiatry, June 2007), Drs. Lenard Adler and Anthony Rostain rebut a reader’s concern that Shire Pharmaceutical’s Daytrana transdermal methylphenidate patch could lead to toxic levels of methylphenidate in certain circumstances (“Dangers of stimulant patch misuse,” Letters, Current Psychiatry, March 2007). Although the doctor’s arguments have merit, many readers would have been interested to know that Drs. Adler and Rostain have financial interests that may have affected the tenor of their commentary.
In a recent Medscape interview supported by Shire, Dr. Adler disclosed financial relationships with Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cephalon, Cortex Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly and Company, Kyowa Pharmaceuticals, McNeil/Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Neurosearch, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer Labs, and Shire. Similarly, Shire sponsored Dr. Rostain to speak at a professional development program produced by the American College Health Association, where he disclosed that he is a speaker for Eli Lilly and Company and Ortho-McNeil and a consultant for Shire.
I note that Current Psychiatry appears to have an inconsistent policy regarding disclosure requirements. For example, although most of the “evidence-based reviews” list disclosures, some do not. For example, in Adler and Rostain’s original article on stimulants (“New warnings on stimulants for ADHD: Cause for alarm?” Current Psychiatry, October 2006), no disclosures were listed.
Given increasing concerns regarding the effects of pharmaceutical industry funding on medical education, I urge Current Psychiatry to require financial disclosures for all letters and articles that mention commercial products, which is the standard for most psychiatric journals. Disclosing this information would allow readers to gauge the probability that an author’s conclusions might be affected by competing financial interests.
Daniel Carlat, MD
Drs. Adler and Rostain did, in fact, provide our required financial disclosure statements that listed the relationships described in Dr. Carlat’s letter. I regret that I forgot to include the disclosures with this particular article in our October 2006 issue.
Since its founding, Current Psychiatry has had a policy requiring authors of evidence-based reviews and those participating in interviews to complete disclosure forms reporting financial relationships “with any company whose products are mentioned” in their articles or “with manufacturers of competing products.” We believe our readers have a right to this information.
I appreciate Dr. Carlat’s vigilance in reminding us to make sure we take the information from these forms and include it with the articles. We have added the disclosures to the archived version of the Adler/Rostain interview on our Web site at www.currentpsychiatry.com.
Given this opportunity, I also wish to assure readers that our editorial board and professional staff choose topics and invite authors independently. No pharmaceutical company participated in developing the Adler/Rostain interview or any other article in Current Psychiatry.
Alice V. Luddington, ELS