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Bias in statin trials, failure to control malaria, and more

In this weeks press release:

  • Findings depend on who has funded the research

  • Vascular endothelial growth factor mediates intracrine survival in human breast carcinoma cells through internally expressed VEGFR 1/FLT1

  • Donors and international health agencies are failing Africa on malaria control

  • Teaching global health at the frontlines


Findings depend on who has funded the research

Research on the effectiveness of a major class of drug statins, used to reduce cholesterol has come under the spotlight in a new article published in PLoS Medicine. There are several statins now on the market and many research trials have compared different brands of statin head-to-head. The authors of the article looked at nearly 200 such trials, some were funded by governments, some by pharmaceutical companies, and in some cases the source of the funding had not been made clear. The authors found that trials of head-to-head comparisons were more likely to report results and conclusions favouring the sponsors own product than the drug with which it was compared

Lisa Bero and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco argue that their findings show that the type of sponsorship available for randomized controlled trials of statins was strongly linked to the results and conclusions of those studies, even when other factors were taken into account. However, it is not clear from this study why sponsorship has such a strong link to the overall findings. There are many possible reasons why this might be. It has been suggested that drug companies may deliberately choose lower dosages for the comparison drug when they carry out head-to-head trials. Others have suggested that trials which produce unfavourable results are not published, or that unfavourable outcomes are suppressed. Whatever the reasons, the conclusions of this article are im
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Contact: Andrew Hyde
44-122-346-3330
Public Library of Science
4-Jun-2007


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