Industry-Funded Trials Often Involve Employees in Studies

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Data analysis in clinical trials often conducted without academic involvement.
Data analysis in clinical trials often conducted without academic involvement.

HealthDay News - Industry employees are often involved in the design, conduct, and reporting of industry-funded trials in high-impact journals, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in The BMJ.

Kristine Rasmussen, from the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of trial publications for the most recent 200 phase III and IV trials of vaccines, drugs, and devices with full industry funding and one or more academic authors that were published in one of the top seven high-impact general medical journals.

The researchers found that 87 percent of the publications were coauthored by employees of industry funders, 92 percent of trials had funder involvement in design, and 84 percent had academic author involvement. In 73 and 40 percent of trials, data analysis involved the funder and academic author, respectively. Trial reporting involved the funder and academic author in 87 and 99 percent of trials, respectively. 

Of the 80 lead academic authors who responded to the survey, 33 percent reported that academics had the final say on the design. Also, 10 responders described involvement of an unnamed funder and/or contract research organization employee in data analysis and/or reporting. 

Most academic authors found it beneficial to collaborate with an industry funder, while 4 percent reported delay in publication and 11 percent reported disagreements with industry funders.

"Academics view the collaboration as beneficial, but some report loss of academic freedom," the authors write.

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