I just experienced this problem and thought I'd share it in case anybody else runs into it. The problem is that after upgrading to apex 4.1 my reports that use the APEX_ITEM API were no longer displaying properly. They were displaying like as the actual html code
e.g. "<input type="text" name ="f02" size="10", maxlength ="10", value = "Test" />"
I don't know why the upgrade changed these columns but if this has happened to you here's how to fix it.
1. go to the region settings
2. go to the report attributes tab
3. click on the little pencil icon which indicates column attributes (for the column using the apex_item api)
4. change "Display As" under column attributes to "Standard Report Column"
Not a very difficult problem but if like me you were unaware that this attribute would be changed by the upgrade this will hopefully be helpful to you.