Source of funding and outcome of clinical trials
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- Davidson, R.A. J Gen Intern Med (1986) 1: 155. doi:10.1007/BF02602327
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Because of recent concerns about conflicts of interest and published research, the author analyzed 107 controlled clinical trials. Studies were classified as favoring either a new therapy or a traditional therapy, and as being supported by a pharmaceutical manufacturer or as being generally supported. Seventy-one per cent of the trials favored new therapies; 43% of these were funded by pharmaceutical firms. Of the 31 trials favoring traditional therapy, only four (13%) were supported by a pharmaceutical firm. There was a statistically significant association between the source of funding and the outcome of the study (p=0.002). Few trials supported by pharmaceutical manufacturers favored traditional therapy; some reasons for this finding may include selection of drugs likely to be proven efficacious, Type II errors (false-negative studies), and fear of discontinuation of funding should such studies be submitted. Important clinical information may be lost if negative studies are not published.