And guess what? When the drug company is paying, the results are 20 times more likely to be favourable. Even better, the researchers are 35 times more likely to give their conclusions a favourable spin.
The effectiveness of the drug over a sugar pill seems to disappear if the funding is from an independent source.
Researchers from the University of California uncovered the 'research for hire' practice when they investigated 192 published trials for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Of those, just half were upfront about the trial's sponsors.
The drug trial is a very worthwhile investment for the drug company. Once its drug has received a favourable review in a so-called 'scientific' trial, it's well on the road to millions of dollars of sales.
(Source: PLos Medicine, June 7, 2007, published online).
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