Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Shannon Brownlee has written a post for Pharmalot describing her views on the list she helped put together of (mostly) pharma-free experts (see various links in last week's roundup). Her bottom line seems fairly reasonable to me: they agree that pay for testimony can constitute a relevant bias, and that conflict is disclosed to journalists when they obtain the full list. I certainly don't dispute that industry money is relevant.
My only quibble: I'm not sure, and she doesn't explain, why they don't plan to add even a modest note on the list on HealthNewsReview.org (why not something like "Some experts may have other relevant conflicts" so that the casual reader knows?). Its absence is probably not critical -- i.e., it will only have the potential to mislead relatively few people, and not journalists using the list for sources -- but it seems like an easy thing to add without any real downside.