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True status of supplement not made clear to reader
  1. C M Wright,
  2. A J R Waterston,
  3. T J Cole,
  4. C A Dezateux
  1. Department of Child Health PEACH Unit, QMH Tower, Yorkhill Hospitals, Glasgow G3 8SJ, UK;

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As current or previous members of the ADC editorial board, we wish to register our disquiet about your recent supplement on ADHD.

Firstly, we are concerned at the principle of publishing something of this kind at all. One of ADC’s great strengths has been the fact that it has not, until now, rented out editorial space to those prepared to pay. Such commercially funded supplements, even if peer reviewed, will always tend to emphasis aspects that favour the funding company. This supplement illustrates this, with two of the seven articles mentioning the same Eli Lilly drug in their titles, with no other drugs mentioned at all. We feel that this sort of covert advertising is not in keeping with ADC’s reputation for academic rigour.

Secondly, we are concerned that a casual reader might not have realised that this publication was commercially motivated. The sponsorship was not mentioned on the cover and then was mentioned only elliptically by referring to an “educational grant” from Eli Lilly. Most importantly, there was no explicit acknowledgment that the drug featured prominently in the supplement was produced by the sponsors of the supplement; we had to go on the web to establish the connection. We have additional concerns that none of the authors of the articles declared either the presence or absence of a conflict of interest, in contrast to articles appearing in the main journal, when it seems likely that at least some of them have received grant funding or sponsorship from Eli Lilly; indeed one is a Lilly employee.

We hope very much that this supplement is not part of a new trend to prioritise advertising income over ethics and represents instead merely a slip-up in ADC’s usual editorial rigour. Either way, we suggest that ADC publish a clarification about the status of the supplement to alert the unwary reader.


  • Competing interests: none