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Editors at large

Peter Doshi: Roche to publicly post trial protocols—just kidding

21 Jan, 16 | by BMJ

“Thirdly, we will post the protocol of our trials as they are started and the results of trials once they are completed on two websites which are available to the public, and”

So states Roche in describing one element of its 2013 policy on clinical trial data sharing.

Such a policy would place the Swiss pharmaceutical company ahead of its peers, even GlaxoSmithKline, generally seen as the pharma leader in trial transparency.

The only problem is that does not appear to be true. more…

BMJ in the news: round-up of 2015

7 Jan, 16 | by BMJ

newspapers1From the Ebola crisis to the weekend effect on hospital death rates, The BMJ publishes articles that receive extensive media coverage from top global news outlets. Here we present some of The BMJ’s biggest stories in 2015. more…

Will Stahl-Timmins: Almost impossible cancer spaghetti

9 Dec, 15 | by BMJ

will_Stahl-TimminsNICE guidelines, produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, are detailed, and sometimes lengthy documents. They are an attempt to summarise all available evidence on a health topic, supplemented by expert opinion where evidence is not available.

The BMJ has recently been publishing quite a few summaries of these NICE guidelines, aiming to provide doctors with more accessible, easy to use resources. I’ve been making a few infographics too – mostly static ones that people can tear out and stick on their consulting room wall, or print from the website. more…

Will Stahl-Timmins: A web of influence

28 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

will_Stahl-TimminsAs part of The BMJ‘s mission to make health information more available to our readers, I am employed to create infographics, often interactive, for our website (and sometimes the print journal too). Earlier this year, I worked on The BMJ‘s investigation into the sugar industry and its links to UK government advisory bodies. This development blog explains how I co-created the graphic with investigative journalist Jonathan Gornall.

The project started, as so many projects do, with several long tables of data—in this case Freedom of Information Act requests, and publicly declared conflict of interest statements from different organisations: more…

Richard Hurley: Meeting the Syrian refugees arriving on a small Greek island

16 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

rich_hurleyOn Tuesday 13 October, while on holiday off the beaten track on the tiny Greek island of Amorgos, I heard that a boat of refugees had landed for the fourth time this year, bringing the total number of refugees who have landed here in 2015 to about 250.

At about 17:30, George Alahouzos, a builder and volunteer with the island’s rescue team, drove me down to Aigiali.

On the port’s quay, usually quiet apart from a few fishing boats and ferries carrying summer holidaymakers, two policemen had arrested 53 Middle Eastern men, women, and young children. I guessed that none were older than about 40. more…

Trish Groves: How research data sharing can save lives

8 Sep, 15 | by BMJ


Everyone’s been missing a trick.

The whole debate on sharing clinical study data has focused on transparency, reproducibility, and completing the evidence base for treatments. Yet public health emergencies such as the Ebola and MERS outbreaks provide a vitally important reason for sharing study data, usually before publication or even before submission to a journal, and ideally in a public repository. Not just from randomised controlled trials, but from case series and samples, lab testing studies, surveillance studies, viral sequencing, genomic work, and other epidemiological observational studies too. more…

David Payne: Can higher education help protect against dementia?

2 Sep, 15 | by BMJ Group

David Payne2In 2001 Tony Blair’s bid for a second term as UK prime minister included a pledge to make “education, education, education” top priority for the Labour party, with a follow up target to get 50% of  students entering higher education. Critics of Labour dismissed the figure as arbitrary and meaningless. But might the policy help protect some people from developing dementia? more…

Tom Moberly: Showing patients what they are worth

3 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

tom_moberlyPrinting the cost of drugs on their packaging is one of Jeremy Hunt’s latest ideas for helping the health service save money.

Arguing that patients need to use NHS resources responsibly, the health secretary said that ministers “intend to publish the indicative medicine costs to the NHS on the packs of all medicines costing more than £20.” Alongside the price, the phrase “funded by the UK taxpayer” will be printed. “This will not just reduce waste by reminding people of the cost of medicine, but also improve patient care by boosting adherence to drug regimes,” he said. more…

Juliet Dobson: Cutting support services for new mothers is a false economy

1 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

juliet_dobsonI was sad to hear that support services for new mothers are going to be cut across England. The Guardian reports that breastfeeding classes, home visits from midwives, and “babyfeeding cafes”—where mothers can drop in and talk to feeding advisers as well as other parents—are increasingly being scaled back or cut owing to pressures on local authority and NHS budgets.  more…

Helen Macdonald: Discussing clot busters for stroke in the mainstream media

18 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

helen_macA recent episode of File on 4, entitled “Treating Stroke: The Doctor’s Dilemma,” discusses the latest on the only clot buster for ischaemic stroke—alteplase—and touches on broader debate that will be familiar to the medical community, but less so to a lay audience.

Alteplase is currently being examined by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after retired consultant Roger Shinton raised concerns about the drug in a letter to The Lancet last summer. More recently, the MRHA panel were offered unpublished data to add to their review of the drug. On 15 June 2015, Roger Shinton, along with three other doctors, wrote to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt, highlighting ongoing concerns about the data. more…

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