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Can disclosure hurt the translation of research?
Date:9/19/2012

Boston, MA All major clinical trials now include disclosures detailing who funded the study to ensure transparency. However, is it possible that this transparency is actually hurting research? One might assume that the methodological rigor of the study matters to physicians more than the disclosure. However, in a new study, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have found that pharmaceutical industry sponsorship of a research study negatively influences physicians' perceptions of the study and their willingness to believe and act on the research findings. This study will be published in the September 20, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

"We found that physicians downgraded their perceptions of industry funded research similarly for high-quality studies and low-quality studies," explained Aaron Kesselheim, MD, JD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at BWH, and principal investigator of this study.

The research team presented abstracts describing hypothetical clinical trials of three fictional, but potentially useful, new drugs to a national sample of board-certified internal medicine physicians. Each abstract was randomized to demonstrate high, medium, or low methodological rigor and randomized to report one of three disclosure variables: funding from a pharmaceutical company, funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or no disclosure listed. The investigators then assessed physicians' impressions of the trials' rigor, their confidence in the results, and their willingness to prescribe the drugs.

"We found clear associations between the funding disclosure variations and physicians' perceptions of a trial's rigor and results," explained Dr. Kesselheim.

The results showed that physicians downgraded the credibility of industry-funded trials when compared with the same trials that had no funding listed, an
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Contact: Jessica Maki
jmaki3@partners.org
617-534-1603
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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