Review Suggests Bias in Drug Study Reporting08/02/10
MONDAY, August 2 (HealthDay News) -- Drug studies paid for by
the pharmaceutical industry are more likely to publish favorable
results than those funded by sources with no financial interest in
the findings, a new review has found.
Children's Hospital Boston researchers reviewed 546 drug trials
that were conducted between 2000 and 2006 and listed with
ClinicalTrials.gov, a Web-based U.S. government registry of
clinical trials. The studies included five types of drugs:
cholesterol-lowering medicines, antidepressants, antipsychotics,
proton-pump inhibitors, and vasodilators.
The drug industry-funded studies reported positive findings
about the drug in question 85 percent of the time, compared with 50
percent for government-funded trials and 72 percent for those
funded by nonprofit or nonfederal organizations, according to the
report published in the Aug. 3 issue of the journal
Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers also found nonprofit/nonfederal trials that
received drug-maker contributions were more likely to report
positive findings than those with no links to the industry -- 85
percent versus 61 percent.
Only 32 percent of industry-funded trials published results
within two years of clinical trial completion, compared with 54
percent of government-funded studies and 56 percent of
nonprofit/nonfederal trials, the authors of the review pointed
The researchers called for more public disclosure at the start
of clinical trials in order to reduce the possibility of bias in
"While we cannot specifically point to which factors contribute to the association between funding source and positive result reporting, our findings speak to the need for more disclosure of all elements of a study," team leader Dr. Florence Bourgeois, division of emergency medicine, said in a Children's Hospital Boston news release.
"Publication bias is likely a contributing factor, but there may be many more, including biases in study design, patient selection, data analysis and results reporting," she added.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about
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