As a result of my inquiry for the article “What you didn’t know about a doctor’s stance on the HPV vaccine,” the medical journal Lancet has now issued a correction to its publication.
The correction acknowledges formerly undisclosed financial conflicts of interest between the article’s lead author and makers of the controversial human papillomavirus (HPV) cervical cancer vaccine.
The article by Dr. Sharon J. B. Hanley defended the vaccine and criticized the Japanese government’s decision to stop promoting the vaccine amid concerns about injuries. It also implied patients are incorrectly blaming the HPV vaccine for unrelated ills.
Hanley did not disclose in the original version that she receives funding from entities supported by makers of both HPV vaccines: Gardasil and Cevarix. In addition, she has previously said the vaccine makers are among those who have paid her “lecture fees.” But Hanley implied the lecture fee disclosure was not required for the recent article because Lancet only asks publishers to account for monetary gain in the most recent three year period.
Critics said it’s an example of hidden cronyism among physicians and corporations who use medical journals to influence public policy.
Read Lancet’s correction in full below.
Hanley SJB, Yoshioka E, Ito Y, Kishi R. HPV vaccination crisis in Japan. Lancet 2015; 385: 2571—In this Correspondence (June 27), the Declaration of interests section should have read “SJBH is part of the executive board of the People’s Campaign Against Female Cancers (PCAF) and a committee member of the Japanese Expert Board for the Eradication of Cervical Cancer. SJBH reports lecture fees from Japan Vaccine and the Japanese Expert Board for the Eradication of Cervical Cancer. PCAF and the Japanese Expert Board for the Eradication of Cervical Cancer have received funding from Japan Vaccine and Merck Sharp and Dohme. EY, YI, and RK declare no competing interests.” This correction has been made to the online version as of July 3, 2015.” [emphasis added]