Drug Industry Influence on Medical Journals and Medical Research

Nearly a year and a half ago, we covered the topic of drug industry influence on medical journals and research. The lead story in yesterday's Washington Post treats the topic in detail, noting that even the most prestigious medical journals have trouble avoiding bias in favor of the industry. The Post piece focuses on a major article that trumpeted the anti-diabetes drug Avandia, which later became associated with heart attacks. I strongly recommend the entire article. Here's a short excerpt:

The odds of coming to a conclusion favorable to the [drug] industry are 3.6
times greater in research sponsored by the industry than in research
sponsored by government and nonprofit groups, according to a published
analysis by Justin Bekelman, a professor at the University of
Pennsylvania, and colleagues. Moreover, at the same time that
companies have been funding a larger share of research, they have
shifted the job of conducting trials away from nonprofit academic
hospitals to for-profit “contract research organizations.” Critics say
that with this change, corporate bias is less likely to be challenged.

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