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Results of Clinical Trials Vary According to Source of Funding

It has been found that cardiovascular clinical trials published between 2000 and 2005 varied in their results depending on whether they were funded by for-profit //organizations or by not-for-profit organizations.These were the finding of a study in the May 17 issue of JAMA.

Surveys of randomized trials published between 1990 and 2000 raised awareness in the medical community that trials funded by for-profit (FP) organizations were more likely to report positive findings than those funded by not-for-profit (NFP) organizations. These surveys raised questions regarding the design and conduct of industry funded clinical trials as well as certain ethical concerns, according to background information in the article. Whether recognition of these concerns has affected contemporary clinical trials was unknown.

Paul M. Ridker, M.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Jose Torres, B.A., of Harvard Medical School, Boston, analyzed outcomes of 324 cardiovascular clinical trials published between 2000 and 2005 in JAMA, The Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine, stratifying the results on whether the trial was funded by for-profit or not-for-profit organizations and if the trial outcome favored newer treatments over the standard of care. Of the 324 trials, 21 cited no funding source.

Overall, 58.6 percent of the 324 trials reported evidence significantly favoring newer treatments, while 34.6 percent reported no significant difference between therapies, and 6.8 percent reported evidence significantly favoring standard of care. Among not-for-profit trials, 49 percent of 104 reported evidence significantly favoring newer treatments, whereas 51 percent either significantly favored standard of care or showed no difference.

Among for-profit trials, 67.2 percent of 137 reported evidence significantly favoring newer treatments with 32.8 percent reporting data favoring standard of care or no difference. The proportion of trials s
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