In Reply:-I have no quarrel with Dr. Saidman's suggestions, particularly his offer of knighthood. And I would be pleased to collaborate with Dr. Ebert or others with a close, prolonged, and repeated connection with Abbott Laboratories.
However, as indicated in my response to Dr. Saidman's previous editorial, I believe that bias is not (or should not be) the issue. Regardless of our sources of support (commercial, National Institutes of Health, or other), we all come to the scientific enterprise with biases, with theories or points we would prove. We come as champions of a hypothesis (often a tiny hypothesis). We come with a passion that animates us. Pity the poor, independent analytical laboratory that cared little about the data other than as accurate results (and, of course, there is the question of whether an analytical laboratory has feelings). What a dull existence!
The problem I see with implementation of Dr. Saidman's suggestion is that it removes those who are most knowledgeable and interested from the tournament. The question of sevoflurane's potential to adversely affect the kidney would not likely have been addressed without the concern and effort of investigators such as Dr. Ebert and myself- and the support of Abbott Laboratories and Baxter Pharmaceutical Products. If there is a downside to the tournament, it is that it may diminish collegiality.
Each of us must strive to sustain the independence necessary for truly valid, important, and clinically relevant studies. Each of us has a responsibility to contain the potentially destructive influence of bias, while harnessing the energy and expertise of interested and committed investigators. In part, that responsibility lies in the mind of the reader who has been warned that I am a paid consultant to Baxter Pharmaceutical Products. In part, it lies in the hands of the investigator. In part, it becomes the responsibility of reviewers for and editors of this and similar journals.
Edmond I Eger II, M.D.
Department of Anesthesia; University of California, San Francisco; San Francisco, California;email@example.com
(Accepted for publication August 14, 1998.)