article today concerning allegations made by a US Senate Finance Committee that a leading medical device manufacturer, Medtronic, made significant payments to authors of peer read journals, which were heavily edited by the company to allegedly promote one of their own products. The Senate's findings have been disputed by the company.

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US medical company accused of manipulating journal articles.

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The implication is that Medtronic has benefited financially by being able to promote one of its own products through a forum that is generally thought to be independent. The results of major peer reviewed studies, which often form the basis of wider medical opinion, are published in medical journals and given high levels of credence.

The results published in these studies and reviews often shape the course of medical treatment that is recommended to patients. In the context of a clinical negligence claim, we consider whether decisions taken about someone's medical treatment fell within a range of reasonable medical opinions. We rely upon advice from independent experts within that particular field to help us determine this, and the experts in turn will rely upon published data, studies and journal articles from respected sources.

The BMJ article highlights the need for these studies and peer reviews to be truly independent, if their results are to continue to be held in high regard amongst the medical community.

Kym Provan
Senior Solicitor
Clinical Negligence team

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