‘Entrenched resistance in the medical profession’

Published in the current BMJ is this ‘Feature Essay’Why doctors have a moral imperative to prescribe and support medical cannabis:

The BMJ have published online several rapid responses to this ‘Feature Essay’ including this response by myself:

Dear Editor,

This morning, the current BMJ arrived through my letter box. I am a recently retired NHS psychiatrist and I still enjoy reading the paper version. Years of campaigning for Sunshine legislation means that I try to do my best to be fully informed about the potential competing interests of influential key opinion leaders. The paper BMJ makes no reference to the competing interests of the author of this essay.

It is welcome to find that the online version does include the following submission:

“Competing interests: I have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare the following interests: I sit on the advisory boards of several research and drug companies, which have no connection to medical cannabis. I have been paid to speak by several drug companies that do not produce medical cannabis products. I founded and chair the scientific committee of the charity Drug Science, which is funded by individual donations, a grant from Open Society Foundations, and book sales. Drug Science receives an unrestricted educational grant from a consortium of medical cannabis companies. My role at Drug Science is unpaid and I do not stand to gain from the wider availability and prescription of medical cannabis.”

As with other paid opinion leaders whose influence is significant enough to be comissioned to write an article such as this, the situation in the UK makes it impossible to determine the scale of competing financial interests. Baroness Cumberlege, the BMJ, and the GMC have all called for the introduction of Sunshine legislation. The resistance to this within the medical and scientific communities continues to astound me.

29 January 2022
Peter J Gordon
retired NHS psychiatrist
Bridge of Allan

Competing interests: No competing interests

This ‘feature essay‘ argues that “entrenched resistance in the medical profession” “is harming patients” and that professionals should act on the basis of a “moral imperative”. It strikes me that the very same arguments should be applied to the necessity for full transparency in relation to competing interests in science and healthcare.

Please note: Drug Science states that it "is the leading independent scientific body on drugs in the UK. We work to provide clear, evidence-based information without political or commercial interference."

What follows is a gallery of images [all taken from the public domain] that provides available context:

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