The support of the BMJ Editor in Chief to address meaningfully financial conflicts of interest in medicine and science is most welcome.
As an NHS doctor of 25 years I have willingly given much of my spare time in trying to bring about change in this area. I have to be honest: I have not found it easy and my ‘activism’ has had consequences for my career. In 2013 I raised a petition with the Scottish Parliament seeking the introduction of a Sunshine Act for Scotland. That petition was closed more than three years ago after a public consultation. The majority of those consulted agreed that legislation was necessary. However the Scottish Government, behind closed doors, chose one of four options under consideration. The “option” that was chosen might be reasonably considered as status quo.
It would seem then that the Scottish Government do not find it “utterly strange or wrong” to continue as we have been doing for so long. Meantime, such conflicts of interest were found to be involved in the Mesh scandal and indeed in a number of areas where prescribed harm has been a consequence.
Fiona Godlee is demonstrating moral leadership and my hope would be that others in positions of power will follow her example.