Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 48 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 17-Feb-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 18-Feb-2004
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The link between funding and the disclosure of clinical trial results

There have been several conflicting reports in the medical literature about whether industry funding influences research findings and conclusions.

In this week's issue of CMAJ, Bhandari and colleagues reveal the results of a study of 332 randomized trials published between January 1999 and June 2001 that show that industry-funded trials were more likely to be associated with statistically significant pro-industry findings. They state this conclusion is not limited to trials of medical treatments -- it applies to trials of new surgical interventions as well.

In a related commentary, Laurence Hirsch, vice-president of medical communications at Merck Research Laboratories, argues that pharmaceutical companies can only undertake a finite number of trials, and consequently those considered more likely to yield positive results are given higher priority.

p. 477 Association between industry funding and statistically significant pro-industry findings in medical and surgical randomized trials -- M. Bhandari et al

p. 481 Randomized clinical trials: What gets published, and when? -- L. Hirsch

Undisclosed results of clinical trials

This issue of CMAJ includes two commentaries decrying the suppression of data concerning unsafe or ineffective medication.

Jane Garland, a psychiatrist, clinical researcher and past investigator in SSRI trials, states that negative results from SSRI trials go unpublished, while the published evidence to support their use is flimsy at best. She calls on physician–researchers to take a collective stand and demand disclosure of all data.

In a related commentary, Herxheimer and Mintzes point to flawed trial design, secrecy in the approvals process and inadequate systems for adverse drug reporting as the mechanisms by which ineffective and unsafe drugs gain a place in the market.

p. 487 Antidepressants and adverse effects in young patients: uncovering the evidence -- A. Herxheimer, B. Mintzes

p. 489 Facing the evidence: antidepressant treatment in children and adolescents -- E.J. Garland

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