By John Stone
Three days ago I wrote about the refusal of BMJ and its editor, Fiona Godlee, to acknowledge that it is joined at the hip to US pharmaceutical giant Merck through its educational division, BMJ Learning, and Merck’s information agency, Univadis (Age of Autism Godlee, Merck, Univadis ). This is a conflict so brazen that it poses the question how after many months they can still go around like the emperor in Hans Andersen’s story pretending that they are not naked. Of course, the point of the story was that all the fawning courtiers who knew perfectly well did not dare say anything: it took a small boy to state the obvious. Age of Autism has taken just that role for the past six months since Martin Walker first took up the subject (Age of Autism Merck's Medical Media Empire ).
It poses a very interesting question about the power edifice supporting the journal that they think they can go on carrying it off: even more interesting that they think that they need to. What is it about this conflict that it must never be formally acknowledged?
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.