DAVID GRANOVSKY

Influential research misses financial conflicts | Reuters

In BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS on March 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm

A pharmacy employee dumps pills into a pill counting machine as she fills a prescription while working at a pharmacy in New York December 23, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By Frederik Joelving

NEW YORK | Wed Mar 9, 2011 1:51am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Scientists who review large sets of drug trials for medical journals often ignore financial conflicts that might warp the evidence, according to a study out Tuesday.

That’s more than just an academic problem, experts say, because the reviews are considered just about the strongest evidence that medical science can muster.

“It influences how physicians make decisions and how guideline panels come up with their guidelines,” said Brett D. Thombs, of McGill University and the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, whose findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Thombs’ team found that of 29 reviews, or “meta-analyses,” of earlier drug trials — culled from top journals like JAMA and The Lancet — only two reported who had funded the original trials included in the review.

And none of the reviews mentioned whether the authors reporting on those trials had been paid by drugmakers.

Such financial ties have been linked to research inflating the benefits of new drugs and downplaying the risks, said Thombs.

 

Influential research misses financial conflicts | Reuters.

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