An author wrote us a letter for publication on the importance of doing research on a long established drug. He did not declare any competing interest, but we were later informed that he was conducting a trial of the drug funded by a pharmaceutical company. We approached him and asked him to declare his competing interest. Have we done the right thing? Should we do more than simply ask him to declare his competing interest and publish that declaration the journal?
_ The author did not think he had a competing interest. _ It was agreed it was beneficial to publish statements of competing interest with the paper, letter, etc, otherwise authors might think this is an optional requirement.
A statement of declaration of competing interest was subsequently published which mentioned that this had been omitted because of naivety. The editor published a paper in 2001 on competing interests, highlighting journal policies on the issue.