Drug trial funding sources ignored

DATA on conflicts of interest are not being factored into meta-analyses used to inform health policy decisions and guidelines on the safety and efficacy of drugs, according to Canadian researchers.

Their reviewing of 29 widely published meta-analyses that considered a range of drug treatments found that little attention had been paid by those compiling the reports to any potential conflicts of interest related to the source of drug trial funding. 

Lead researcher Dr Brett Thombs (PhD), a psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Montreal’s McGill University, said that just two of the 29 meta-analyses mentioned the source of funding for the original drug trials, and in both cases “did it in very obscure places in the published articles”.

“Not one of the meta-analyses mentioned whether researchers who conducted the trials were employed by industry or personally received money from industry