26 February 2019:
At the 16th World Congress on Menopause, held in Vancouver in 2018, a lecture on the ethical reporting of data addressed concerns related to the Conflicts Of Interest (COI) form provided by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). This form is used by many medical journals when manuscripts are submitted for publication. Currently, there exists a public funding exemption on the form. Under Instructions, (section 3), “Relevant financial activities outside the submitted work” the current document states “Public funding sources, such as government agencies, charitable foundations or academic institutions, need not be disclosed. For example, if a government agency sponsored a study in which you have been involved and drugs were provided by a pharmaceutical company, you need only list the pharmaceutical company.” Although it may have at one time been appropriate, it is now time for this exemption to be removed from the Instructions and from the ICMJE COI form. Indeed many present felt this exemption should be removed from all COI forms used in medical publishing. Accordingly, the editor, associate editors, and the editorial board of Climacteric supported an effort to seek to work with the ICMJE to remove the exemption. The executive director of NAMS, the NAMS executive board and the editor of Menopause also agreed to support this effort. A joint letter requesting this change to the ICMJE’s COI form was emailed to the ICMJE last summer and on February 16th we were notified by the ICMJE that they had agreed to the changes. They did note, however, that due to technical issues involved in changing the form and the associated investment, that there would be a delay in implementing the change. We will continue to follow the progress in ultimately having the changes to the ICMJE’s form implemented. We thank NAMS and ICMJE for their support of this proposal.
James H. Pickar
Associate Editor of Climacteric