Drug trials funded by drug makers more likely to show positive results

A study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals that drug studies paid for by the drug’s manufacturer are more likely to show the drug worked than studies funded by the government or unaffiliated organizations.

A review of the results of 546 drug trials found that those funded by pharmaceutical companies reported positive outcomes 85% of the time, compared to 50% for government-funded trials and 72% for those funded by non-profits and other organizations.  Moreover, just 32% industry-funded studies were published within two years of the study completion, compared to 54% of government-funded studies and 56% of nonprofit- or other organization-funded studies.

One reason for the discrepancy may be that drug companies are typically more selective in the trials it funds, and want to have a reasonably good chance of a positive outcome before funding the study.  The federal government, in contrast, often funds research at earlier stages when the outcome is much less certain.

For the full story, go to the LA Times.

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