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BMJ. 2007 Dec 8;335(7631):1202-5. Epub 2007 Nov 16.

Financial ties and concordance between results and conclusions in meta-analyses: retrospective cohort study.

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  • 1Stanford University, Stanford Medical Group, Stanford, CA 94305-5765, USA.



To determine whether financial ties to one drug company are associated with favourable results or conclusions in meta-analyses on antihypertensive drugs.


Retrospective cohort study.


Meta-analyses published up to December 2004 that were not duplicates and evaluated the effects of antihypertensive drugs compared with any comparator on clinical end points in adults. Financial ties were categorised as one drug company compared with all others.


The main outcomes were the results and conclusions of meta-analyses, with both outcomes separately categorised as being favourable or not favourable towards the study drug. We also collected data on characteristics of meta-analyses that the literature suggested might be associated with favourable results or conclusions.


124 meta-analyses were included in the study, 49 (40%) of which had financial ties to one drug company. On univariate logistic regression analyses, meta-analyses of better methodological quality were more likely to have favourable results (odds ratio 1.16, 95% confidence interval 1.07 to 1.27). Although financial ties to one drug company were not associated with favourable results, such ties constituted the only characteristic significantly associated with favourable conclusions (4.09, 1.30 to 12.83). When controlling for other characteristics of meta-analyses in multiple logistic regression analyses, meta-analyses that had financial ties to one drug company remained more likely to report favourable conclusions (5.11, 1.54 to 16.92).


Meta-analyses on antihypertensive drugs and with financial ties to one drug company are not associated with favourable results but are associated with favourable conclusions.

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