From Vera Hassner Sharav of the Alliance for Human Research Protection website in response to the BMJ competing interests declaration. See the original content at the AHRP site HERE.
The editor in chief of the BMJ acknowledges that AHRP was right to criticize the BMJ and its editor for failing to disclose to its readership, the BMJ financial ties to Merck--manufacturer of 13 vaccines. She also acknowledges income from GSK--manufacturer of several vaccines as well. (HERE)
"Thank you for giving me an opportunity to respond to Vera Hassner Sharav's comment,  which for those of you who haven't seen it is reproduced below. (HERE)
Although Vera's claims may seem far-fetched on this occasion, she is right that we should have declared the BMJ Group's income from Merck as a competing interest to the editorial (and the two editor's choice articles) that accompanied Brian Deer's series on the Secrets of the MMR scare.   We should also, as you say, have declared the group's income from GSK as a competing interest in relation to these articles. We will publish clarifications."
However, her statement, "We didn't declare these competing interests because it didn't occur to us to do so " is startling. How seriously are we to take her strongly articulated stance against researchers who fail to disclose their financial conflicts of interest--if she doesn't recognize her journal's blatant conflict of interest?
Either she is being disingenuous or downright cynical about the BMJs declared stand against financial conflicts of interest that are undermining the integrity of medical research reports, and its own clandestine partnerships with industry.
Let's be clear: financial conflicts of interest ALWAYS influence the position one defends-- human nature is no different between politicians whose campaign chests are filled by vested interests, government officials, or academics who have grown dependent on financial support from special interests. Each delivers the service for which he /she is paid.
Vera Hassner Sharav