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Analysis finds sponsorship biases in animal studies may differ from those in clinical trials
By UCSF School of Pharmacy Editorial Staff / Mon Jan 27, 2014
A new analysis of dozens of animal studies evaluating the effects of the cholesterol-lowering statin class of drugs on atherosclerosis found larger positive effects in studies not sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry as compared to those that were industry sponsored.
The analysis of the influence of sponsorship in 63 such preclinical studies published over nearly 50 years was led by Lisa Bero, PhD, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy, and published online January 21, 2014 in PLoS Biology. [The PLoS Biology title is "Nonindustry-Sponsored Preclinical Studies on Statins Yield Greater Efficacy Estimates Than Industry-Sponsored Studies: A Meta-Analysis."]
Previous meta-analyses of clinical studies (which test drugs in human volunteers) have found that drug company sponsorship and financial ties of researchers are associated with published outcomes that favor the sponsor.
Bero and her co-authors write: “One reason for the discrepancy between the association of funding source and outcome in preclinical and clinical studies could be that the interests of the pharmaceutical industry are best served by underestimating efficacy prior to clinical trials and overestimating efficacy in clinical trials.” Other possible reasons—such as selective reporting of outcomes—require further study, the researchers note.
About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.