Contributors to Britain's leading medical journal criticized the publisher in a stinging editorial on Friday, demanding that it cut its ties to the arms industry.
Reed Elsevier, the publishing company that owns The Lancet, is helping coordinate the Defence Systems and Equipment International arms exhibit next week. The arms exhibit is one of Europe's largest, according to the AP.
The editorial's contributors say they are "deeply troubled" by the company's links to the arms trade.
The editorial reads: "The Lancet's editors and the journal's International Advisory Board were unaware of Reed Elsevier's involvement with DSEi (the exhibit) until a few weeks ago.
"We are deeply troubled by this connection to the arms trade. On behalf of our readers and contributors, we respectfully ask Reed Elsevier to divest itself of all business interests that threaten human, and especially civilian, health and well-being."
Reed Elsevier issued a response that ran next to the editorial on Friday, saying the defense industry was crucial in preserving freedom and national security.
"The sale of equipment and services for national defense is not only sanctioned and supported by the British and other leading governments around the world, the same governments which provide the largest single source of funding for scientific research, but is also enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter," wrote Stephen J. Cowden, company secretary for Reed Elsevier.