Speaking at an event called ‘Getting your message across: the power of healthcare journals' in London last week, Richard Horton inveighed against ‘the impact of marketing departments on [pharma companies'] medical departments'.
He claimed ‘two instances in the past year' when pharma companies had contacted him to insist changes be made to the ‘abstracts' (summaries) that introduce the research published by the journal.
He later said: ‘I got an email just this morning from an author trying to change an [intro] to something that had certainly been written by the marketing department.'
Subsequently, a delegate asked Horton whether he had reported the companies to the ABPI. He responded: ‘No. Good point, we should have done.' The ABPI said: ‘We encourage all journalists to report inappropriate conduct.'
Horton made similar comments on pharma conduct to the Health Select Committee during the 2004-2005 inquiry into ‘the Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry'.
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