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JAMA. 2011 Mar 9;305(10):1008-17. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.257.

Reporting of conflicts of interest in meta-analyses of trials of pharmacological treatments.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Disclosure of conflicts of interest (COIs) from pharmaceutical industry study funding and author-industry financial relationships is sometimes recommended for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in biomedical journals. Authors of meta-analyses, however, are not required to report COIs disclosed in original reports of included RCTs.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate whether meta-analyses of pharmacological treatments published in high-impact biomedical journals report COIs disclosed in included RCTs.

DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION:

We selected the 3 most recent meta-analyses of patented pharmacological treatments published January 2009 through October 2009 in each general medicine journal with an impact factor of at least 10; in high-impact journals in each of the 5 specialty medicine areas with the greatest 2008 global therapeutic sales (oncology, cardiology, respiratory medicine, endocrinology, and gastroenterology); and in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Two investigators independently extracted data on disclosed study funding, author-industry financial ties, and author employment from each meta-analysis, from RCTs included in each meta-analysis, and on whether meta-analyses reported disclosed COIs of included RCTs.

RESULTS:

Of 29 meta-analyses reviewed, which included 509 RCTs, only 2 meta-analyses (7%) reported RCT funding sources; and 0 reported RCT author-industry ties or employment by the pharmaceutical industry. Of 318 meta-analyzed RCTs that reported funding sources, 219 (69%) were industry funded; and 91 of 132 (69%) that reported author financial disclosures had 1 or more authors with pharmaceutical industry financial ties. In 7 of the 29 meta-analyses reviewed, 100% of included RCTs had at least 1 form of disclosed COI (pharmaceutical industry funding, author-industry financial ties, or employment), yet only 1 of these 7 meta-analyses reported RCT funding sources, and 0 reported RCT author-industry ties or employment.

CONCLUSION:

Among a group of meta-analyses of pharmacological treatments published in high-impact biomedical journals, information concerning primary study funding and author COIs for the included RCTs were only rarely reported.

PMID:
21386079
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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