CMAJ Corrects Report to Disclose Doctors’ Links to Anti-Gun Lobby
(Update Oct. 28: Adds CMAJ response to TheGunBlog.ca.)
TheGunBlog.ca — The Canadian Medical Association Journal corrected a report related to gun owners this week, after it failed to disclose that two of its authors run a lobby group that campaigns against gun owners.
The CMAJ corrected the study on Oct. 21, two days after TheGunBlog.ca asked the journal about the undisclosed interests.
We asked today if the lapse was by the authors or the editors. The CMAJ didn’t respond.
Why It Matters
- Disclosing bias and interests is key to ethics and integrity.
- The report authors emphasize crime, violence and injury in their campaigns, and ignore the benefits of firearm ownership.
- Doctors erode trust and patient health when they suppress relevant facts to promote their personal agenda.
The CMAJ’s original Oct. 19 analysis of bullet-related injuries in Ontario didn’t say that David Gomez and Najma Ahmed are executives at Canadian Doctors for Protection From Guns, a federally registered lobby group.
- David Gomez (Lead author): Executive Team
- Najma Ahmed (Co-Author): Co-Chair, Co-Founder
The corrected footnote on “Competing Interests” refers to the anti-gun lobby as an “advocacy group,” not as a foreign-funded, federally registered lobby group.
It doesn’t mention that Natasha Saunders, a third author, collaborated with the anti-gun lobby group.
CMAJ has been made aware of an omission in a Research article published Oct. 19, 2020.
The competing interests statement should have mentioned that 2 authors (David Gomez and Najma Ahmed) are members of national and international medical associations that advocate for the reduction of firearm injuries: the American College of Surgeons, the Trauma Association of Canada and the Panamerican Trauma Society. In addition, David Gomez and Najma Ahmed are members of the Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, which is an advocacy group. The Research article does not represent any of these societies or advocacy groups.
The competing interests statement has been updated at cmaj.ca.CMAJ, Correction, 21 October 2020
CMAJ Responds to TheGunBlog.ca
Update Oct. 28: “The update/correction was prompted by your query as well as a couple of others,” Kim Barnhardt, a CMAJ spokesperson, told TheGunBlog.ca by e-mail on Oct. 28 in response to our questions on Oct. 23. “CMAJ does require authors to declare competing interests but I don’t know the specifics of this article. I will send an additional information when received.”
Even though personal gun ownership is severely restricted in Canada under two dozen federal laws including the Criminal Code, more adults have a firearm licence authorized by the federal police than play golf or hockey.
The doctors’ position statement on their website calls on the federal government to introduce “legislation and other tools to reduce the prevalence of firearms, such as restrictions on gun ownership,” among other measures.
“Ban civilian ownership of guns,” Ahmed said on Twitter on July 6, mentioning @Docs4GunControl, the Twitter account of her lobby group.
The CMAJ is the journal of the Canadian Medical Association, which is also registered with the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada.
The CMAJ published the study as its cover story the day before a “Day of Action” by the anti-gun group.
The president of the Canadian Medical Association’s Board of Directors, Ann Collins, spoke at the event and promoted it on Twitter.
The lobbying commissioner’s website shows the anti-gun group’s registered address in Toronto as 30 Bond Street and the phone number as (416) 864-6060, the same contact details as Saint Michael’s Hospital, where Gomez and Ahmed work.
The CMAJ article’s footnotes say the hospital helped pay for the study.
CMAJ Correction, 21 October 2020
- New Canadian Doctors Group Aims to Ban Guns From Licensed Owners
- I Am Afraid to Talk to My Doctors About My Struggle: Mark Carew
- First Take: Inside Today’s Study of ‘Firearm Injuries’ in Youth
Correction on Oct. 25: Corrects spelling of Canadian Medical Association.