Top medical journals continue to produce tobacco-funded research: Study

May 31, 2024

New Delhi, May 31

Tobacco-funded research continues to appear in highly-cited medical journals, reveals a study published in The BMJ on World No Tobacco Day on Friday.

The findings by The Investigative Desk -- an independent platform for investigative journalism -- showed that the tobacco industry has a long history of subverting science.

Even then most of the leading medical journals do not have policies that ban research wholly or partly funded by the tobacco industry.

The study based on research into the PubMed database showed hundreds of relationships between Big Tobacco’s medical and pharmaceutical subsidiaries and medical research.

Further, the tobacco policies of 10 leading general medical journals and 10 journals in each of the three therapeutic areas especially affected by smoking were analysed.

The results showed that of the 40 journals, only 8 (20 per cent) had policies prohibiting studies wholly or partly funded by the tobacco industry.

“Of the 10 journals in the field of respiratory medicine, six had a tobacco policy, but in oncology only one did, and in cardiology, none had one. Among the 10 general medicine journals, only The BMJ had such a policy.”

Institutions, professionals, and scientific journals should refuse involvement with the tobacco industry, said Ruth Malone, professor of social behavioural sciences at the University of California, US.

As the tobacco industry is known for its “long-standing history of dishonesty” it is “very straightforward” that researchers should cut ties with them after they are acquired by big tobacco, else they would be “working with the tobacco industry” and contributing to their profits, added Nicholas Hopkinson, professor of respiratory medicine at Imperial College London.




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