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JNCI TO GO PRIVATE; SEEKS ADS FROM BIG DRUG COMPANIES

From The Cancer Chronicles #30
© Dec. 1995 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

One of the few laudable things about the National Cancer Institute has been its journal. Readers may have noticed how many of our own stories over the years have been inspired or supported by articles in JNCI, including those on modified citrus pectin.... For years, all science journalists who requested it have received complementary copies of this excellent bimonthly publication, one of the best non-commercial sources of professional education in the cancer field.

That is why it is particularly disturbing that NCI announced earlier this year that, in order to save some money, it would no longer distribute JNCI as a courtesy to science writers. This presents no hardship to larger news organizations, but the burden will fall disproportionately on smaller, independent publications.

Then on November 8, NCI announced that it was looking for a private publisher to take over production of the journal. Over a period of five years, NCI intends to "slowly transition to a private publisher," with NCI maintaining the selection of editor-in-chief. The reason for these changes is, in the words of NCI, that "government ownership prohibits accepting paid advertising and other methods of building revenue."

The Journal costs $1.7 million to print and distribute, of which subscribers pay $1 million. But no alternative proposals have been put forward to make the JNCI more accessible to the main audience for cancer information, the patients, by, say, featuring sympathetic information on currently available alternative approaches.Accepting paid advertising is a very bad idea. But it happens to be one of the ways that pharmaceutical companies influence the editorial content of the journals they advertise in. All you have to do is look at mainstream cancer publications. They are filled with glossy four-color ads for the very drugs being discussed, almost always favorably, in that journal's articles.


Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.



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