Response to Dr. Eckert

Original Message
From: seeckert@mayo.edu
To: niznick@aol.com
Sent: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 3:03 PM
Subject: RE: Please Print this Letter to the Editor, responding to last issues' Editorial, in your next issue

TO DR. STEVEN ECKERT, EDITOR OF JOMI,
January 21, 2007

DEAR DR. ECKERT:
I RECEIVED YOUR EMAIL DATED JANUARY 18, 2007, RESPONDING NEGATIVELY TO MY SUBMISSION OF A LETTER TO THE EDITOR (“LETTER”) SENT LESS THAN 24 HOURS EARLIER. BELOW ARE MY POINT-BY-POINT RESPONSES TO YOUR REASONS FOR REFUSING TO PUBLISH MY LETTER. I RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THAT YOU CONSULT WITH YOUR EDITORIAL BOARD AND RECONSIDER YOUR DECISION IN LIGHT OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN MY LETTER AND THE RESPONSES BELOW. IF YOU PERSIST IN THIS DECISION, I WILL HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO DISTRIBUTE A COPY OF MY LETTER ALONG WITH A COPY OF THIS LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE ACADEMY OF OSSEOINTEGRATION THROUGH THE MAIL AND INTERNET, GIVING THIS CONTROVERSY MORE ATTENTION THAT IT WOULD RECEIVE BY JUST PUBLISHING IT IN YOUR NEXT ISSUE.

GERALD NIZNICK DMD MSD
PRESIDENT, IMPLANT DIRECT LLC.


Dear Dr. Niznick,
Thank you for your letter. As you know, editorials are designed to be provocative. It is gratifying to see that Dr. Watzek's editorial has achieved this goal.

NIZNICK RESPONSE: It also achieved the goal of being inaccurate in its facts related to the advent of oral implants and in its conclusion that implant innovation and lower prices were mutually exclusive. I doubt that the goal ofan editorial is to publish misinformation that is then allowed to go unchallenged.

ECKERT: JOMI has traditionally not published letters to the editor.


NIZNICK RESPONSE: The JOMI has in the past published a number of my Letters to the Editor and refused to publish others. Below are some of these Letters, preserved in the Caveat Lector-Reader Beware 1984-1999 section of www.implantdirect.com web site. Dr. Watzek's Editorial is no different.

  1. "Scientific Review" Used by Nobelpharma Spokesman, Albrektsson, to Attack Competitors™:
    A Response to Albrektsson T et al.: The long-term efficacy of currently used dental implants: A review and proposed criteria of success. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 1986;1(1):11-25
  2. Fabrication of "Research" Findings to Discredit a Competitor of the Branemark System™:
    Responses to Kinni ME et al.: Force transfer by osseointegration implant devices, Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 1987;2(1):11-14) and Henry PJ: Comparative surface analysis of two osseointegrated implant systems, Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 1987;2(1):23-27.
  3. Applying False Evaluation Criteria to Discredit a Competitor's Implan™t:
    Response to Malmqvist JP and Sennerby L: Clinical Report on the Success of 47 Consecutively Placed Core-Vent Implants Followed From 3 Months to 4 Years. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 1990, Vol. 5, No. 3, Pages 211-212.
  4. Slanted Speakers Platform is Falsely Heralded as the "State of Osseointegration in Private Practice™":
    Letter to the Editor in response to Proceedings of Osseointegration: 10 Years in Private Practice, 1982 - 1992, held October 9 and 10, 1992, at the Lansdowne Convention Center, Leesburg, VA. Reported in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants, 1994, Volume 9, Special Supplement. Published in the Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 1995;10(1):1-2.
  5. "Scientific" Research Designed to Compensate for the Inferior Strength of Grade 1 CP Ti Branemark Implants™:
    Letter to the Editor in response to Rangert B, Krogh P, Langer B, Van Roekel N: Bending overload and implant fracture: A retrospective clinical analysis. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 1995;10(3):326-334. Published in the Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 1996;11(4):431-432.

ECKERT: Given the number of manuscripts that this journal must manage it simply cannot afford to use pages for such letters.

NIZNICK RESPONSE: If your concern is the availability of pages in JOMI, I will gladly forego the two pages of advertisements I intended on placing in your next journal. There seems to be no restriction on the number of pages where advertising is concerned with 34 pages of advertising, including two from Implant Direct, that appear in the same issue as Dr. Watzek’s Editorial.


ECKERT: In addition to the concern for page count there is also a concern for subjective comments in the scientific literature. Readers understand the purpose of editorials. Readers know that editorials are opinion based, subjective commentaries. With letters to the editor the nature of the letter is not as clear.

NIZNICK RESPONSE: Dr. Watzek’s Editorial, while his opinion, is given credibility beyond its merits by your decision to publish it. My opinion, expressed in my Letter, and supported by references to published scientific and financial statements, is equally deserving of publication to set the record straight. It is a well-established principal that a lie unchallenged becomes like the truth. Dr. Watzek’s editorial endorses the false premise, perpetuated by the major implant companies, that there is a direct correlation between higher prices and product innovations. As the Editor of a Journal that thrives on 34 pages of advertisements mostly related to dental implants, I can understand why this false premise is one that serves the interests of your publisher because it is the high prices that are paying for the advertisement.

ECKERT: Your letter raised interesting issues. It describes financial issues that the readership rarely sees.

NIZNICK RESPONSE: All the more reason to publish my Letter if it raises issues that would be of interest to your readers, and describes financial issues that the readership rarely sees.

ECKERT: Although this information may be of interest to readers it is not information that is of scientific interest. Perhaps these comments would be more appropriate in publications related to dental economics.

NIZNICK RESPONSE: My Letter deals with financial issues related to the cost of dental implants because the Editorial to which I am responding, falsely supported the notion that higher prices and product innovations were inextricably joined. The financial matters I cite are from published financial statements of the two larges dental implant companies and show, contrary to the Editorial’s main premise that these companies only spend 3.5-5% of their revenue on research and 10X that amount on marketing so research can not be the reason for higher implant prices as the Editorial infers.

ECKERT: Regarding the history of implant dentistry, my impression is that Dr. Watzek was referring to the era of predictable implant therapy in contrast to some early implant designs that were not as predictable. He described implant dentistry from the time that osseointegration had been observed. I think that this is the reason for a difference of opinion between your letter and his editorial.

NIZNKCK RESPONSE: Your “impression” of Dr. Watzek’s statements, flies in the face of the plain meaning of his words. Your readers will most likely interpret his inaccurate historic statement that “the advent of oral implants, (was) initiated by Branemark about 40 years ago” as a historic fact, which it is not. Your refusal to publish my Letter, with cited published references proving the contrary, including one from Branemark’s 1977 Textbook, serves only to perpetuate the myth that was carefully constructed to promote the sale of the Branemark Implant.

ECKERT: Certainly there are many newsletters, economics journals, magazines and Internet sites that would serve as better forums for your comments. I encourage you to send your comments to those sites.

NIZNICK RESPONSE: If any of those newsletters, economic journals, magazines and Internet sites had published Dr. Watzek’s Editorial, I would have certainly directed my comments to those publications. The fact is that you approved the publication of his editorial in your journal and that is the appropriate forum to publish my response to those statements. That is what a “Letter to the Editor” is intended to accomplish. Refusal to publish my Letter to the Editor exactly as I wrote it, will result in the necessity of circulating copies of both my Letter to the Editor and this letter to every Academy of Osseointegration member and to post it on my website, which received 10,000 unique visitors the first week of this year alone.

Respectrully,
GERALD NIZNICK DMD MSD
PRESIDENT, IMPLANT DIRECT LLC.