More than 40 primary studies, and three recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses, have shown a clear association between pharmaceutical industry funding of clinical trials and pro-industry results. Industry sponsorship biases published scientific research in favour of the sponsors, a result of the strong interest commercial sponsors have in obtaining favourable results.
Three proposed remedies to this problem are widely agreed upon among those concerned with the level of sponsorship bias: financial disclosure, reporting standards and trial registries. This paper argues that all of these remedies either fail to address the mechanisms by which pharmaceutical companies’ sponsorship leads to biased results—design bias, multiple trials with predictable outcomes, fraud, rhetorical effects and publication bias—or else only inadequately address those mechanisms. As a result, the policies normally proposed for dealing with sponsorship bias are unable to eliminate it. Only completely separating public clinical research from pharmaceutical industry funding can eliminate sponsorship bias.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Funding: Support: This research was supported in part by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Competing interests: None.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- Industry sponsorship bias in research findings: a network meta-analysis of LDL cholesterol reduction in randomised trials of statins
- Industry sponsorship bias in cost effectiveness analysis: registry based analysis
- Do we really know how many clinical trials are conducted ethically? Why research ethics committee review practices need to be strengthened and initial steps we could take to strengthen them
- Making the best use of available evidence: the case of new generation antidepressants
- Selected highlights from other veterinary journals
- Moving towards less biased research
- “Asset exchange”—interactions between patient groups and pharmaceutical industry: Australian qualitative study
- Evidence-informed recommendations to reduce dissemination bias in clinical research: conclusions from the OPEN (Overcome failure to Publish nEgative fiNdings) project based on an international consensus meeting
- Industry funding of patient and health consumer organisations: systematic review with meta-analysis
- Conflicts of interest matter and awareness is needed