Perception of Bias

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I am a veteran member of ASCO (> 33 years) and a regular reader of The ASCO Post Evening News, which usually provides very interesting information. A recent issue contained an article about a review presented by Tony Reid, MD, PhD, at a Best of ASCO meeting on “Important Findings in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer” (from The ASCO Post, October 15, 2013). Reading this article, I already had the impression of a bias in favor of bevacizumab (Avastin). I was, therefore, not surprised to read a disclosure statement at the end of the article indicating that Dr. Reid has been a consultant to Genentech, the manufacturer of bevacizumab.

I find it extremely disappointing that The ASCO Post accepts colleagues for such a task even if they have a clear conflict of interest. Because I am quite familiar with the subject discussed in the previously mentioned article, I have my own opinion based on the scientific evidence. However, if I read articles about other areas, where I may be less knowledgeable, how do I know that the opinion given is unbiased?

—Richard Herrmann, MD
             Basel, Switzerland




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