Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Med Ethics. 2008 Aug;34(8):627-30. doi: 10.1136/jme.2007.022467.

Evaluating solutions to sponsorship bias.

Author information

  • 1Department of Philosophy, John Watson Hall, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. 1wmd1@queensu.ca


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk