In response to growing concerns that JAMA editors Catherine DeAngelis and Phil Fontanarosa may have responded inappropriately to a researcher who publicly pointed out an undisclosed conflict of interest of a JAMA author, the AMA, which owns the journal, has asked an oversight committee to investigate the affair. This latest episode in the ongoing saga was reported yesterday in a story in the Wall Street Journal by David Armstrong. You can read about the background to this story in our previous post, in which we noted that the JAMA editors did not appear to be doing themselves any favors by taking a strong stance against both conflict of interest and freedom of speech.
UPDATE: A highly respected cardiologist told CardioBrief that he has no doubt that the criticisms being leveled at DeAngelis are absolutely true, since he himself has been the object of similar verbal abuse. For understandable reasons, he requested that his remarks be kept off the record.
Here is the AMA statement from Joseph Heyman, the AMA Board Chair (thanks to David Armstrong for passing along):
“The American Medical Association is owner and publisher of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and its specialty Archives journals. While we are ultimately responsible for these publications, as most in the medical and journalism professions are aware, these journals are editorially independent of AMA. That means we do not review or interfere in what is printed in these journals.
“Recently, concerns have been raised over how JAMA editors addressed a conflict of interest issue brought to light by Professor Jonathan Leo. As owner and publisher of JAMA, we take these concerns very seriously.
“In accordance with the Editorial Governance Plan for JAMA, this entire matter is being formally referred to the Journal Oversight Committee (JOC). The AMA is requesting that the JOC examine the concerns related to Professor Leo’s inquiry and upon completion present its findings to the AMA Board of Trustees. The AMA Board will give careful consideration to whatever is reported to it by the JOC.”