Sponsorship and research results and quality of the pharmaceutical industry: systematic review
Joel Lexchin, Lisa A Bero, Benjamin DjulbegovicOtavio Clark
The British Medical Journal
A systematic review published in 2003 on British Medical Journal showed how the funding of a study by the pharmaceutical industry was associated with favorable results for the financing firm's molecule. The authors selected 30 studies carried out on the relationship between sponsors and research results between 1966 and 2002 (6 pharmacoeconomics reviews, 2 meta-analyzes and 22 trial group analyzes) and concluded that industry-funded research was less likely to be published compared to those supported by public funds and more likely to give a favorable result to the sponsor, up to 4 times that (odds ratio 4.05; 95% CI 2.98 - 5.51). No studies found industry-led trials to be of low quality. The explanation should rather be sought in the "opportunistic" choice of the comparator drug (notoriously ineffective or administered at too low doses); Finally, there is a publication bias, in the sense that the industry tends not to publish studies that are unfavorable to its product.