Controversy Surrounds New Editor-in-Chief at the New England Journal of Medicine

By Charatan, Fred | Bulletin of the World Health Organization, June 2000 | Go to article overview

Controversy Surrounds New Editor-in-Chief at the New England Journal of Medicine


Charatan, Fred, Bulletin of the World Health Organization


The Massachusetts Medical Society has named Dr Jeffrey M. Drazen as the new Editor-in-Chief of the 188-year-old New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals. Dr Drazen, 53, a leading asthma researcher, is the Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and is the Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr Drazen was immediately confronted with controversy surrounding Ns close ties with pharmaceutical companies from which he has received funding. Last year, Dr Drazen had provided an overstated estimation of the efficacy of a drug marketed by Sepracor for the treatment of asthma. The Food and Drug Administration issued a "notice of violation" to the company in March 1999 indicating that they found certain statements used in a company press release for levalbuterol to be misleading. Dr Drazen had been paid by the company to evaluate studies of levalbuterol and acknowledged that his assessment had been "overzealous". The New England Journal of Medicines's conflict-of-interest rules exclude him from writing editorials or articles related to his research within two years of accepting commercial funding. To avoid future conflicts of interest, Dr Drazen said he would excuse himself from the editorial process for any papers submitted that relate to asthma, or to nine major companies from which he has received research grants or consultation fees. …

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