Research funded by drug companies is more likely to produce results that favour the sponsor’s product, reveals a new study.

Researchers analysed 30 previous reports examining pharmaceutical industry-backed research and found the conclusions of such research were four times more likely to be positive than research backed by other sponsors.

“What we found was that in almost all cases there was a bias – a rather heavy bias – in favour [of a drug] when the study was industry funded,” said study leader Joel Lexchin.

The main reasons for this, say the team, may be that positive studies are more likely to be published than negative ones. Also, inappropriate comparison drugs may be used in these trials, skewing findings in favour of the tested product.
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