Do financial interests result in positive results in scientific research?

Mar 18, 2010

Virtually all (94%) of the scientific authors who provided positive results for the anti-diabetic drug rosiglitazone had financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, according to research published in the British Medical Journal today.

While the study acknowledges that financial relationships may not necessarily be the reason for positive research results, it concludes that further reform is needed to ensure trust in scientific work.

In 2007, a large scale review of rosiglitazone showed that use of the drug led to a significant increased risk of heart attacks. This in turn led to further studies and commentaries by about the safety of rosiglitazone. Policies were also developed to encourage disclosure of such financial .

But whether these policies have made any impact on the association between financial conflicts of interest and views expressed in scientific reports is still unknown.

So researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the USA assessed over 200 articles on rosiglitazone to explore a possible link between authors' financial conflicts of interest and their views on the safety of the drug.

They found that almost half of the study authors (45%) had financial conflicts of interest and almost a quarter of these (23%) did not disclose this information. Three studies included in the latter group published a statement declaring no conflicts of interest.

Almost all (94%) authors who had favourable views on the safety of rosiglitazone were more likely to have a financial conflict of interest with a pharmaceutical company than were authors who had unfavourable views.

The researchers conclude by saying: "Disclosure rates for financial conflicts of interest were unexpectedly low, and there was a clear and strong link between the orientation of authors' expressed views on the rosiglitazone and their financial conflicts of interest with ."

"These findings, while not necessarily causal, underscore the need for further progress in reporting in order for the scientific record to be trusted," they add.

Explore further: Experts denounce clinical trials of unscientific, 'alternative' medicines

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0