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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.
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 is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.