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Cochrane Collaboration in Crisis as Half of its Governing Board Resigns After a Member is Expelled

Sunday, September 16, 2018

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Peter Gøtzsche, Tom Jefferson

The highly respected Cochrane Collaboration is in crisis today at its 25th annual meeting in Edinburgh as one board member is expelled and six more resign. There are more links below but it seems to have been over a dispute regarding the independence of authors and members with regards to links to industry and pharmaceutical companies. Here is a statement from the rump governing board, released yesterday:

Peter Gøtzsche's statement: "I regret to inform you that I have been expelled from membership in the Cochrane Collaboration by the favourable vote of six of the 13 members of the governing board." 

Four other members of the board have resigned: Gerald Gartlehner, David Hammerstein, Joerg Meerpohl, and Nancy Santesso.

Two other members of the governing bord (Rae Lamb and Catherine Marshall) resigned because of governance issues.

This dispute has been going on for some time but the trigger may have been the critique of the Cochrane reivew of HPV vaccines (not of the vaccines themselves, but of the methods used):

Here is the Cochrane editor in chief's response to the critique:

Responses to this will be published in BMJ-EBM. Earlier coverage is published in BMJ and The Lancet. There is a lot more but these are all the public facts up to now. 

Cochrane HPV vaccine review: BMJ journal defends "inconvenient criticisms."

Details provided by professor Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor.

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