Researchers financed by pharma more likely to produce positive results, new report says

pharmafile | January 18, 2017 | News story | Research and Development clinical trials 

A new paper published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has called the integrity of certain clinical trials into question by claiming that pharmaceutical companies paid researchers for consultancy and advisory work, travel expenses, speeches and stock ownership, and where these payments were made, studies were more likely to have positive outcomes, highlighting a “risk of research bias”.

Based on a sample of 195 drug effectiveness trials in 2013, it was found that 58% of lead authors had financial connections to the pharma industry; the US researchers concluded that, “Financial ties of principal investigators were independently associated with positive clinical trial results. These findings may be suggestive of bias in the evidence base.”

“The UK clinical trials environment works differently than in the US,” explained Dr Jacintha Sivarajah, head of medical affairs at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). “In the UK, funding to run clinical studies is made available to organisations including NHS Trusts and Universities – rather than individuals. There should be no undue influence from any industry, pharmaceutical or otherwise, in the clinical and financial decisions of a NHS institution.

He continued: “Calling for peer-reviewed studies that have benefited from industry funding, or where authors have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, to be ‘interpreted with caution’ fundamentally undermines the positive collaboration which has allowed medical research to flourish in this country. We are proud of the partnerships our members take part in to develop innovative new treatments for patients, which include new medicines for a whole range of diseases.”

Matt Fellows

Related Content


Genentech shares phase 3 results for ALK-positive early-stage lung cancer treatment

Roche’s Genentech has announced that the phase 3 ALINA trial assessing Alecensa, compared with platinum-based …

GSK confirms positive results from shingles trial in China

GSK has announced positive results today from its first efficacy trial for Shingrix recombinant zoster …

The NIH’s RECOVER initiative could lead to the first official treatment for long COVID-19

As of 31 July 2023, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the first trials …

Latest content