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Ann Pharmacother. 2004 Apr;38(4):579-85. Epub 2004 Feb 24.

Industry sponsorship and authorship of clinical trials over 20 years.

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  • 1Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The pharmaceutical industry has become a major source of funding for biomedical research. Our general observation is that pharmaceutical industry employees are appearing with increasing frequency as coauthors of clinical trial publications.

OBJECTIVE:

To characterize clinical trial funding, reporting, and sources; investigate author-industry affiliation; and describe clinical outcome trends over time.

METHODS:

We reviewed 500 randomly selected clinical trials published in 5 influential medical journals over a 20-year period (1981-2000).

RESULTS:

Of the 500 clinical trials reviewed, 181 (36%) involved pharmaceutical industry as an independent (n = 104) or joint (n = 77) sponsor and 180 (36%) involved a peer-review funding source; the balance (139; 28%) lacked any declared sponsorship. The percentage of industry-sponsored clinical trials increased to 62% during 1997-2000. The percentage of nonprofit sponsored clinical trials remained constant over time, while the percentage of those without funding declaration declined. Reported author affiliation with industry increased to 66% of clinical trials sponsored only by industry. An increase in the percentage of clinical trials with reported author-industry affiliation was observed for all journals. Regardless of funding source, the majority of clinical trials reported clinical outcomes that favored the study drug.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pharmaceutical industry-sponsored and mixed-funding clinical trials are common, and the relative incidence of published trials with these declared funding sources in the 5 journals reviewed has increased. Industry employees are appearing as coauthors of clinical trial publications with increasing frequency.

Comment in

PMID:
14982982
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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