The Prostate 37:194 (1998) Editorial Editor-in-Chief Gerald P. Murphy, M.D., asked me to write an editorial comment on the appropriateness of The Prostate publishing a trial comparing Permixon威 to finasteride without a placebo control group . The article was accompanied by an editorial by L.J. Denis, M.D., explaining some of the problems of publishing articles on plant extracts and outlining the recommended standards of drug studies for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) patients . Dr. Murphy’s request for me to write a comment came about after many criticisms about publishing the study were raised in the general session of the Fourth International Consultation on BPH held in Paris, July 3–5, 1997. I had also heard criticisms in a small working group that I participated in from someone who had reviewed and recommended rejection of the paper from a different journal. The publication of this paper on the use of plant extracts for BPH has obviously generated a lot of strong feelings. I am pleased to comment on the appropriateness of the publication. I must disclose that at this same Paris meeting, I attended a meeting of consultants for the Pierre Fabre Medicament and received a modest honorarium. It is the obligation of medical journals to share knowledge with the scientific community. A scientific journal’s function is to publish high-quality and scientifically sound papers. There is also an obligation not to publish bad science. An original article should make a contribution with new information. The scientific method should be sound and the manuscript be written according to acceptable styles and formats in good English. Editors of journals cannot let personal prejudices interfere with a fair review and an evenhanded judgmental process. There is no question that the Permixon威 study would have been better with the inclusion of a placebo control arm. It is well-known that 20–30% of BPH pa- © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc. tients will have some improvement in symptoms and flow rates on placebo therapy. The paper submitted to The Prostate did not have a placebo control but did compare Permixon威 in a blinded fashion with finasteride. Dr. Murphy sent the article out to nine reviewers because of the possible controversial nature of the material. Two reviewers gave a political opinion, and seven reviewers scientifically reviewed the paper and recommended acceptance after revisions. I have reread the article and Dr. Louis Denis’ comments. The article is well-written and the results are not overinterpreted. Dr. Denis’ comments are appropriate and clearly address the lack of a placebo control arm. In my opinion, manuscripts on herbal (phytotherapy) should not be rejected out of hand. This form of therapy deserves scientific evaluation like any other medical therapy. Whether this paper without a placebo control would have a high enough priority rating to publish is an editorial decision. The process was fair and I would wholeheartedly back the Editor in his decision. Jay Y. Gillenwater Hovey S. Dabney Professor of Urology University of Virginia Health Sciences Center Charlottesville, Virginia REFERENCES 1. Carraro J-C, Raynaud J-P, Koch G, Chisholm GD, Di Silverio F, Teillac P, Calais Da Silva F, Cauquil J, Chopin DK, Hamdy FC, Hanus M, Hauri D, Kalinteris A, Marencak J, Perier A, Perrin P: Comparison of phytotherapy (Permixon威) with finasteride in the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia: A randomized international study of 1,098 patients. Prostate 1996;29:231–240. 2. Denis LJ: Editorial review of ‘‘Comparison of Phytotherapy (Permixon威) With Finasteride in the Treatment of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia: A Randomized International Study of 1,098 Patients.’’ Prostate 1996;29:241–242.