Pharmacology journal expresses concern over “similar, but updated” review
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology has issued an “expression of concern” for a 2003 review article, based on a previous lecture, with close echoes to a paper that had appeared in one of The Lancet titles.
The following article ‘Winstanley, P. The contribution of clinical pharmacology to antimalarial drug discovery and development. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2003; 55: 464–8’ was an invited review based on a lecture, published online on 20 May 2003 on the Wiley Online Library. This article is a similar, but updated, version of an article previously published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, ‘Winstanley, P. (2001), Modern chemotherapeutic options for malaria. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 1: 242–50’. The Editor of BJCP is satisfied that, while the reduplication of text from the earlier article was not good practice, there is a difference between the earlier and later work. The author, editor and publisher apologize for this failure to follow normal publication practice.
When we try the link to the paper in The Lancet ID, however, it takes us to the BJCP article. Here’s a link that works. The BJCP paper has been cited five times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, but one of those cites was by the retraction.
“Similar, but updated” is a
n curious euphemism, particularly when the editor, author and publisher acknowledge that the closeness was a “failure to follow normal publication practice.” Just how similar were these two papers?
Here’s the abstract of the article in The Lancet ID:
Unlike HIV disease or tuberculosis, both of which are also major threats to public health throughout the tropics, uncomplicated malaria of whatever species can be cheaply and rapidly cured, usually in outpatients. However, in common with both HIV and tuberculosis, control of malaria is threatened by inadequate resources and by drug resistance. Africa carries the greatest burden of malaria mortality and morbidity; by no coincidence, Africa is also the most resource-limited. The drugs for severe disease (quinine and the artemisinins) are largely unaffected by resistance so far, but the “first-line” drugs, mainly used by outpatients (eg, chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine), are a major cause for concern. Although effective drugs are available they are mostly too expensive for routine use. This article reviews the main drugs for malaria and outlines the therapeutic use of these drugs for uncomplicated and severe disease. The article then examines the challenges faced in the processes of changing policy, and the implementation of that policy shift.
And here’s the BJCP:
Unlike human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease or tuberculosis, both of which are also major threats to public health throughout the tropics, uncomplicated falciparum malaria is relatively cheaply and rapidly cured, usually in Outpatients. However, in common with both HIV and TB (but to varying degrees), control of malaria is threatened by inadequate resources and drug resistance. Worldwide, it is Africa that carries the greatest burden of falciparum malaria mortality and morbidity; by no coincidence, it is also Africa that is most resource-limited. The drugs for severe disease (quinine and the artemisinins) are largely unaffected by resistance so far, but the ‘first-line’ drugs, mostly used by outpatients (mainly chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine) are a major cause for concern. Although effective drugs are available, they are largely too expensive for routine use. The present article reviews the ways in which clinical pharmacology has contributed to the identification of new drugs and strategies for malaria.
We’ve tried to reach some of the people involved for comment, and will update with anything we learn.