In looking at a recent issue of The ASCO Post, I noted that expert opinions from specialists were published alongside a number of clinical reports. Below each opinion was a disclosure statement, often saying that the expert had no conflict of interest to report. While I do not know each of these individuals, I am certain they were chosen for the expertise in their respective areas. Further, they have likely published on the particular subject, including perhaps original research citing the advantages of a different therapy or conclusion from that reported in The ASCO Post.
Experts such as these might possibly serve as advisors to drug companies. For example, if one doctor favors a different cancer treatment regimen than another, expressing a potential for conflict, if in fact one does exist, does not weaken the expert’s opinion but the relationship should be made apparent. ■
—Laurence Baker, DO
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dr. Baker is Chair of the Southwest Oncology Group and Collegiate Professor of Cancer Developmental Therapeutics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.