Navigation Links
Drug trials funded by industry are more likely to publish favorable results

Boston, Mass. -- When published results are systematically tracked for drug trials registered with, those from industry-funded trials are the likeliest to be favorable to the drug in question, report researchers at Children's Hospital Boston. Publishing in the August 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers call for more public disclosure about clinical drug trials at their outset to reduce the possibility of bias in the findings.

The research team, led by Florence Bourgeois, MD, MPH, of Children's Division of Emergency Medicine, and Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, Laboratory Director in the Children's Hospital Informatics Program, reviewed 546 drug trials conducted between 2000 and 2006 and listed with, a comprehensive, web-based federal registry of clinical trials. The analysis focused on five classes of drugs: cholesterol-lowering drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotics, proton-pump inhibitors and vasodilators. The researchers scanned the medical literature for publications associated with each trial, checking four separate databases and contacting trial investigators directly if necessary.

Overall, allowing for a three-year lag time from the completion of the trial, two-thirds of the trials had published results. The industry-funded trials reported positive outcomes 85 percent of the time, as compared with 50 percent for government-funded trials and 72 percent for trials funded by nonprofits or non-federal organizations. In addition, among the nonprofit/nonfederal trials, those that had industry contributions (nearly half) were more likely than those without to report positive outcomes (85 vs. 61 percent). These differences were all statistically significant.

The researchers acknowledge that the pharmaceutical industry was probably more selective in which trials it funded, helping to account for their greater proportion of favorable outcomes. "Industry is very good at knowing what they want to study, and industry-sponsored studies are more efficient and well funded," says Bourgeois, the study's first author. "But despite these potential biases, this is a stunning result."

The industry-funded trials were in more advanced phases of study; 89 percent were Phase 3 or Phase 4, versus just 51 percent of government-funded trials and 65 percent of nonprofit/nonfederally-funded trials. However, even Phase 1 and 2 trials funded by industry reported the highest percentage of favorable outcomes.

In addition, industry-funded trials were the least likely to have published results within two years of study completion (32 percent) as compared with trials with no industry contributions (54 percent for government trials, and 56 percent for purely nonprofit/nonfederal trials).

As the researchers discuss in the paper, clinical trials can be manipulated in various ways to make the results appear more favorable. Publication bias a tendency to selectively publish only positive results of a trial, or delay publication of negative results is one factor that has received much attention, as in a well-publicized 2008 study of antidepressants in The New England Journal of Medicine.

"While we cannot specifically point to which factors contribute to the association between funding source and positive result reporting, our findings speak to the need for more disclosure of all elements of a study," says Bourgeois. "Publication bias is likely a contributing factor, but there may be many more, including biases in study design, patient selection, data analysis and results reporting."

The use of registries like, launched in 1999, was hoped to reduce publication bias by creating a record for all clinical trials. In addition, in 2005, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors began requiring that a trial be registered before enrolling patients in order to be considered for publication, thus creating a record of the planned study outcomes before the study's initiation. In 2007, the FDA expanded the scope of Clinical, requiring the sponsors of all drug, biologic and device trials to register their studies upon launch (phase I trials excepted).

If trial protocols are made public in advance, a trial sponsor is less able to manipulate or selectively publish the findings, the researchers argue. "Our main call is for transparency, to enable better understanding of the impact of funding source on the study outcomes, and for all study results good or bad to be made available," says Mandl, the study's senior investigator, also an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.


Contact: Keri Stedman
Children's Hospital Boston

Related medicine news :

1. Clinical trials can be improved by managing the learning curve
2. Many False-Positive HIV Test Results for Those in AIDS Vaccine Trials
3. Hopkins faculty lead development of report to FDA on ethical, scientific issues related to post-market clinical trials
4. Announcing: Intrinsic Imaging : Radiology Experts Launch Novel Medical Imaging CRO for Clinical Trials
5. US Department of Defense helps move spinal cord injury treatment closer to clinical trials
6. Second Ohio State cancer drug begins clinical trials testing
7. Compound enhances cancer-killing properties of agent in trials
8. Newer Drugs Beat Gleevec in Head-to-Head Trials
9. Nicer than needles: Insulin pills for diabetes finally in clinical trials
10. Trials begin on potent new hepatitis C drug
11. Quincy Bioscience Launches; Research Studies More Accessible For Participants
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution ... the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these ... disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and are derived from many of ... beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary in the current issue of ... full issue, click here . , For the American Society of Clinical Oncology ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... Final Cut Pro X. , "Film editors can give their videos a whole new ... said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a ... fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, ... type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts from the American ... Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. ... including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , AIR ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... June 26, 2016 Story ... operating models within the health care industry is causing ... efficiency , Deloitte offers a suite of solutions ... issues impacting efficient cost optimization: labor resource analysis, revenue ... services facilitate better outcomes and better economics ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ("Collagen ... and manufacturing of collagen and mineral based medical ... that Bill Messer has joined the ... further leverage the growing portfolio of oral surgery, ... Bill joins the Collagen Matrix executive team ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016   Bay Area Lyme Foundation ... Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness , Harvard ... MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and ... the five finalists of Lyme Innovation , ... than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: