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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 2036

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Henry DA, Kerridge IH, Hill SR, McNeill PM, Doran E, Newby DA, Henderson KM, Maguire J, Stokes BJ, Macdonald GJ, Day RO.
Medical specialists and pharmaceutical industry-sponsored research: a survey of the Australian experience.
Med J Aust 2005 Jun 6; 182:(11):557-60
http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/182_11_060605/hen10805_fm.html


Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: To characterise research relationships between medical specialists and the pharmaceutical industry in Australia.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Questionnaire survey of medical specialists listed in the Medical Directory of Australia and believed to be in active practice, conducted in 2002 and 2003.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Details of medical specialists’ involvement in pharmaceutical industry-sponsored research, and reports of potentially undesirable research outcomes.

RESULTS: Of 2120 specialists approached, 823 (39%) responded. Participation in pharmaceutical industry-sponsored research was more commonly reported by those in salaried practice (49%) than those in private practice (33%); P < 0.001. 216 reported that industry had made initial contact, compared with 117 who had initiated contact with industry. 14.0% of respondents reported premature termination of industry-sponsored trials, which they considered appropriate when in response to concerns about adverse drug effects. 12.3% of respondents reported that industry staff had written first drafts of reports, which they viewed as an acceptable practice for “internal” documents only. Of greatest concern to respondents were instances of delayed publication or non-publication of key negative findings (reported by 6.7% and 5.1% of respondents, respectively), and concealment of results (2.2%). Overall, 71 respondents (8.6%) had experienced at least one event that could represent breaches of research integrity.

CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate a high level of engagement in research between the pharmaceutical industry and medical specialists, including those in private practice. Examples of possibly serious research misconduct were reported by 8.6% of respondents, equivalent to 21% of those with an active research relationship with industry.

 

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...to influence multinational corporations effectively, the efforts of governments will have to be complemented by others, notably the many voluntary organisations that have shown they can effectively represent society’s public-health interests…
A small group known as Healthy Skepticism; formerly the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) has consistently and insistently drawn the attention of producers to promotional malpractice, calling for (and often securing) correction. These organisations [Healthy Skepticism, Médecins Sans Frontières and Health Action International] are small, but they are capable; they bear malice towards no one, and they are inscrutably honest. If industry is indeed persuaded to face up to its social responsibilities in the coming years it may well be because of these associations and others like them.
- Dukes MN. Accountability of the pharmaceutical industry. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23; 360(9346)1682-4.