Most peer-reviewed journals have rules about disclosure of financial relationships. Precisely what a scientist has to disclose depends on the subject matter and on the journal, so it is hard to pin down exactly when a researcher is breaking those rules. In a number of publications, Lindsay did disclose his relationship with Lilly, but he did not do so uniformly. For example, in a September 2010 article in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings about an osteoporosis study, many of the authors declared that they were on Lilly's speakers bureau or had other entanglements with the company, although Lindsay, also a co-author, did not. He subsequently told me that he had changed his mind about declaring this kind of relationship: “Up until fairly recently, my declarations included any pharmaceutical company whose products were in my talk” or article, he told me. “I've changed that philosophy a bit because now, to make sure that there's real clarity, I would declare all contacts.
Even when the subject of a study was a Lilly product, Lindsay did not always reveal his financial relationship with the firm. His 2008 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism on whether teriparatide, the basis of Lilly's drug Forteo, is affected by other osteoporosis drugs had no announcement that Lindsay had in recent years acted as a consultant and lecturer for Forteo's maker. “Since everyone in that study was treated with teriparatide, there was no capability to create a conflict,” Lindsay says. “And, of course, [the study] wasn't supported in any way by Eli Lilly.
This article was originally published with the title Is Drug Research Trustworthy?.