mr. David Clark
Senior Vice President, Health and Medical Sciences
125 London Wall
Etten-Leur, April 21, 2016
Dear mr. Clark,
Thank you for your answer on my request to retract the publication on the PACE-trial and the comment written by Bleijenberg and Knoop, which I recieved April 12, 2016.
In your letter you end with the following statement:
“As a leading medical journal and a focal point for debate, The Lancet will, at times, publish work that attract criticism and controversy. Publishing such work, while also giving those who are critical a reasonable opportunity to respond, is part of the role of The Lancet.”
Please correct me if I am wrong, but my conclusion , and many highly respected scientists share this opinion, is that the PACE-trial is a heavily funded research project that contains many serious scientific flaws.
Any first year university student, having submitted work like this, would have been send back to redo his homework; this work simply does not meet basic scientific demands. The review by Bleijenberg and Knoop did not mention these flaws and added an extra succespercentage without any scientific grounds.
Nevertheless The Lancet decided both articles were publishable. Besides that, the editor of The Lancet didn’t exactly encourage discussion the way you mentioned. Instead he defended the PACE-trial and degraded those who were critical. So, on this point your statement doesn’t exactly work in reality the way you suggest.
I always thought that publishing an article in The Lancet would be a garantee for outstanding scientific research. Apparently I am wrong. Combining your statement and the fact that the PACE-trial is a pseudoscientific chaos, I conclude that basic scientific demands don’t have to be met for publication in The Lancet. Thank you for this enlightening information on the status of articles published in The Lancet.
Still, the only correct thing to do, is to retract both articles. These articles have lead to serious misconceptions by healthcare providers and governments based on this pseudoscience. Many patients all over the world are confronted with explicit negative experiences as a result of these writings.
In anticipation of your reply
cc: CEO of RELX