Letter to the Editor: Advertisement Concerns

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Laura L. Bolton, PhD

Dear Editor,

  Thank you for all Ostomy Wound Management does to channel valuable information supporting care decisions to the professionals who make them.

  Regrettably, an advertisement attached to the front cover of recent issues of Ostomy Wound Management and WOUNDS misinformed readers, potentially harming patients by selectively quoting a Cochrane systematic review (SR) about honey. This advertisement initially seemed to be a journal-sponsored service to readers authorized by the Cochrane collaboration. Closer examination revealed it to be a commercial advertisement, not authorized by the Cochrane Collaboration.

  I stand for integrity in wound care science. I am dismayed that a company would misrepresent the Cochrane SR and do such a disservice to wound care professionals and their patients by quoting out of context negative statements from the SR with the potential to deny honey access or treatment to professionals who may choose to use it. Selected quotes from the SR misinformed readers by failing to give a balanced account of the randomized controlled trial content supporting honey’s healing effects for patients at risk of nonhealing.

  One wonders if the company, after misinforming journal readers, would have the courage and integrity to pay for a similar advertisement, independently reviewed by the journal’s editorial staff, accurately representing the statistically significant randomized controlled trial healing results cited in the SR that favored honey for pressure ulcers, hard-to-heal venous ulcers, infected Caesarean sections, burns, and Fournier’s gangrene.

  No one asked me to write this letter, penned with a growing sense that wound care is at an important ethical choice point about evidence-based practice. One day soon I may be that little old lady in tennis shoes cared for by readers of your journals, who I hope will remain clearly and honestly informed.

  Laura L. Bolton, PhD
  President, BOLTONSCI LLC
  Metuchen, NJ

Reply

  One of the missions of HMP Communications, LLC, which publishes Ostomy Wound Management and WOUNDS, is to maintain an appropriate separation between paid advertisements and editorial content. Because of the editorial-like appearance of a recent advertisement (cover tip) and the fact that it was not clearly marked as an advertisement, readers may have incorrectly assumed the message—related to a Cochrane Review of honey products—came directly from HMP Communications.

  Moving forward, HMP Communications will clearly mark advertisements that may be perceived as journal content to clearly distinguish editorial from commercial intent for our readers. Beyond that, an advertiser’s message is its own. HMP Communications cannot be responsible for verifying claims made by companies related to their products or the products of competitors. Readers with questions or concerns regarding ad content are encouraged to contact the sponsoring companies.

  We regret any confusion and thank the readers who provided feedback.

  Barbara Zeiger, Editor
  Ostomy Wound Management

This article was not subject to the Ostomy Wound Management peer-review process.