You knew some of this already
Clinical studies funded by drug and device makers are more likely to report positive results than those funded by non-profits. When costs are split by for-profits and non-profits, the results are in the middle.
But some of the additional findings were also interesting:
- Trials with surrogate rather than clinical endpoints are more likely to come out favorably
- Device trials are particularly likely to be favorable
- Many of the studies reported null results –contrary to the hypothesis that such studies aren’t funded
There is of course a cynical view of this, one I don’t completely reject. But there is also the possibility that for-profit companies tend to fund additional studies of therapies already proven to work, and that device companies are more hesitant to fund risky propositions.
Still, it’s important for readers to keep in mind the possibility of bias, even when reading prestigious journals such as the ones studied here (JAMA, NEJM, Lancet).
See the JAMA abstract here: Ridker PM and Torres J “Reported Outcomes in Major Cardiovascular Clinical Trials Funded by For-Profit and Not-for-Profit Organizations: 2000-2005” JAMA 2006;295:2270-2274May 17, 2006