The American Journal of Bioethics

Publish date

It has been implied by Carl Elliott and William Heisel that it has ever been claimed that “financial links between the Center for Practical Bioethics, AJOB and Purdue Pharma” exist and that “what reporters may find is that the center is tied up” with AJOB. We hope that our statement below will quell inaccurate speculation and prevent future defamatory statements about AJOB by these two writers or any others who might mistake their statements for facts.


No financial relationship exists or ever existed between AJOB and Purdue Pharmaceuticals or any pharmaceutical company. AJOB received no financial support from the Center for Practical Bioethics. No member of the editorial group in Kansas City, including Drs. Summer Johnson and Glenn McGee, received any support from Purdue or any pain-related group nor did they receive any support for their editorial work from the Center for Practical Bioethics. Dr. Glenn McGee was paid a salary drawn entirely from an endowment given by the John B. Francis Foundation. Dr. Summer Johnson, then Executive Editor, was paid by the Center exclusively to serve as Director of Graduate Studies of the Center’s Certificate in Clinical Ethics Program. By contract, the Center for Practical Bioethics had no role in the editorial office’s operations or decisions.


AJOB published in November 2010 a manuscript by Richard Payne MD, et al., on pain contracts, mentioned recently in the Kansas City Star and on which Myra Christopher, then President of the Center for Practical Bioethics, was last author. It was externally peer reviewed. To the best of our knowledge, none of the 12 co-authors on the manuscript declared any individual conflict. Each AJOB author is required to disclose conflicts at three distinct times in order for their manuscript to be published: on the first page of their manuscript upon submission, on AJOB’s Conflict of Interest form, and as part of submitting the final electronic proof. Our conflict of interest policy for authors is in the back cover, in all author instructions, and here: .

The editors have taken note of the recent letter from members of the Senate Finance Committee inquiring as to certain parties’ relationships with opioid manufacturers. We have asked all contributors who have written on pain in AJOB to revisit their conflict of interest disclosures. The responses to our request will be shared with the AJOB Conflict of Interest committee, per our policy, and that committee will recommend any appropriate action on the part of AJOB.


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