Physicians from around the world urged Elsevier Group PLC., the publisher of The Lancet medical journal and other scientific and medical journals, to cut its links to weapons sales, calling on the editors to find another publisher if Reed Elsevier refused to stop hosting arms fairs.
“The Lancet is one of the most respected international medical journals and should not be linked to an industry involved in weapons designed to cause physical harm and death,” wrote Dr. Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, and Dr. Michael Pelly, the association’s international adviser.
Reed Elsevier said it supported The Lancet editors’ right to free speech, but had no plans to stop its involvement with arms fairs.
The Lancet first learned of its publisher’s involvement in the arms industry in 2005. Supported by Britain’s Ministry of Defense, Reed Elsevier hosts arms fairs around the world that have showcased weapons — including a 1,100-pound cluster bomb, one of the deadliest known bombs.
“The Lancet has a particular commitment to child survival, and cluster bombs are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children, and cause horrendous disabilities,” said editor Richard Horton. “It is completely incompatible for Reed Elsevier to be in this business and also to be a health science publisher.”