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Br J Psychiatry. 2003 Dec;183:498-506.

Quantitative analysis of sponsorship bias in economic studies of antidepressants.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, and Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven, Connecticut 06519, USA.



Concern is widespread about potential sponsorship influence on research, especially in pharmacoeconomic studies. Quantitative analysis of possible bias in such studies is limited.


To determine whether there is an association between sponsorship and quantitative outcomes in pharmacoeconomic studies of antidepressants.


Using all identifiable articles with original comparative quantitative cost or cost-effectiveness outcomes for antidepressants, we performed contingency table analyses of study sponsorship and design v. study outcome.


Studies sponsored by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) manufacturers favoured SSRIs over tricyclic antidepressants more than non-industry-sponsored studies. Studies sponsored by manufacturers of newer antidepressants favoured these drugs more than did non-industry-sponsored studies. Among industry-sponsored studies, modelling studies favoured the sponsor's drug more than did administrative studies. Industry-sponsored modelling studies were more favourable to industry than were non-industry-sponsored ones.


Pharmacoeconomic studies of antidepressants reveal clear associations of study sponsorship with quantitative outcome.

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