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Bias found in mental health drug research presented at major psychiatric meeting
Date:5/22/2012

ANN ARBOR, Mich. When thousands of psychiatrists attend their field's largest annual meeting each year, the presentations they hear about research into drug treatments report overwhelmingly on positive results.

That's the finding of a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology by two young psychiatrists from the University of Michigan and Yale University, who analyzed the presentations given at two recent meetings of the American Psychiatric Association.

Of 278 studies presented at the 2009 and 2010 APA meetings that compared at least two medicines against each other for any psychiatric illness, they found that 195 had been supported by industry, and 83 funded by other means. The authors then evaluated the studies without knowing which kind of support each one had.

Of the industry-supported studies, 97.4 percent reported results that were positive toward the medicine that the study was designed to test, and 2.6 percent reported mixed results. No industry-sponsored studies with negative results were found.

In contrast, when industry was not the source of funding, 68.7 percent of the presentations were positive, and 24.1 percent contained mixed results, while 7.2 percent contained negative results.

This 'presentation bias', in which mostly good news about medicines gets reported at meetings, echoes the 'publication bias' that has been seen in research published in major journals, says Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the U-M Medical School who led the study while in his residency at Yale.

While attending the APA's massive annual meeting, he noted the large industry presence and emphasis on research involving medicines that were still "on patent" and being actively marketed to both psychiatrists attending the conference. He teamed with Yale psychiatry resident Maya Prabhu, M.D., M.Sc., now a consulting forensic psychiatrist at Yale, to do a fo
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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