British Medical Journal reported today that reviews of drugs, which are supported by the pharmaceutical industry are less transparent, and are likely to conclude sympathetically as compared to independent reviews, reveals a recently concluded study.
The authors opine that bias in drug trials is a common phenomenon and often favors the trial-sponsor's product. Independent reviews - which can have a more unbiased and systematic approach - are essential to counterbalance this negative approach. This would ensure that doctors and other health professionals have the right and accurate information that they need on drugs.
The authors, based in Denmark, undertook comparison of 24 pairs of reviews conducted by different people on the same drugs including 7 industry supported reviews. Independent reviews were observed to be of higher quality and less biased than those supported by the pharmaceutical industry.
Industry-supported reviews should be read with caution. Greater transparency, including the inclusion of more information on methodology and the estimated effects of the drugs allow readers to judge the reliability of drug reviews.