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Drug Trials Funded by Industry Are More Likely to Publish Favorable Results
Date:8/2/2010

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

SOURCE Children's Hospital Boston
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