U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) has asked Medicare how it "assesses the content of the journals of science and medicine that it uses, in part, to make decisions about Medicare payments."
In a news release Grassley said, “I want to make sure the federal government relies on the best available science and that’s science that is peer-reviewed and free of bias."
In the letter to Medicare, he wrote: "Conflicts of interest have been proven in peer-reviewed studies to have a significant impact on scientific outcomes. Accordingly, it is important that scientific journals maintain policies of transparency and financial disclosure. ... With this issue in mind, it is troubling that few journals require authors to reveal who funded their research. Indeed, a 2001 study examined the top 1000 journals in science and medicine. The researchers found that only 16% of the journals had conflict of interest policies."
The Integrity in Science Watch program says that Medicare recently named 11 journals to the list of medical journals used to justify reimbursement for off-label use of cancer drugs. At least one of the journals did not require authors to disclose conflicts of interest and more than half did not require registration of clinical trials prior to publication, according to an Integrity in Science Watch survey."