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Studies ‘prove’ drug works – as long as the manufacturer has paid the researchers

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It’s medicine’s own special circle : drug companies point to studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of their drug in the hope of selling more, but most studies are paid for by the drug company, who influences the outcome, and so can point to the study with some confidence in order to sell more drugs. A new study – and one that wasn’t funded by a drug company – has discovered that most drug studies will conclude that the remedy is effective, if the research has been paid for by the manufacturer. The study sponsor influences the result in a variety of ways, concludes a research study led by Prof Wolf-Dieter Ludwig, chairman of the drug commission of the German Medical Association. Aside from directly paying for the study, the drug company may also have direct, or indirect, financial links with the authors, and this could include payments for lectures, air travel to exotic locations, and the like. The results aren’t the only thing open to bias. The all-important conclusion – the summary that most people focus on – is also open to interpretation, and can even differ from the actual results. (Source: Deutsches Aerzteblatt International, 2010; 107: 279-85).

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Article Topics: drug, long, manufacturer, paid, studies, works
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