Victory for science and peer-review publishing

An editorial in American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy describes the outcome of a legal action against their journal from a manufacturer who claimed that an article (abstract only, full text requires a subscription) published in the 15 March 2007 issue of AJHP defamed the manufacturer "through the criticism and test results published in the article" as the manufacturer's product fared less well than other products in a comparison. The editorial notes that "sworn depositions were required of the Journal’s editor in chief and the senior editor, who had managed the submitted manuscript", and "the peer reviewers’ comments, names, credentials, experience, and all communications between the corresponding editor and the authors."

According to the editorial, on 26 March 2009, the Journal’s and authors’ motions to dismiss all claims was granted in favour of the Journal and the author. The judgment was very interesting, noting that, "Publishing an opinion that product A is superior to product B is not a legitimate basis for a defamation suit. The correct remedy was not an award of damages but rather the plaintiff’s submission of a rebuttal to the Journal for publication consideration." It concludes that, “Quite simply, this battle should take place in the pages of the ASHP journal and similar publications, not in a court.”