PhD student in Medicine
Award-winning publication: Reporting of Conflict of Interest from Drug Trials in Cochrane Reviews: A Crosssectional Study
Published in: BMJ 08-2012;345:e5155
"There are ongoing concerns about the influence on medical evidence of conflicts of interest (COIs) from links between researchers and drug manufacturers. Current reporting guidelines require that study funding and author-industry financial ties be disclosed in published research reports. Guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analyses do not, however, require review authors to describe COIs from included trials. My study focused on Cochrane reviews, as the Cochrane Collaboration is a leader in setting standards for health care evidence reviews. Although Cochrane reviews reported information on COIs from included trials, the majority of Cochrane reviews of drug trials published in 2010 did not provide information on trial funding sources or trial author-industry financial ties."
Michelle Roseman's present study confirms the findings of her previous study (Roseman et al., JAMA, 2011), which found that meta-analyses of drug trials published in high-impact biomedical journals rarely reported trial funding sources. These are important results because, if information on COIs is not provided, users of evidence reviews will not be able to truly evaluate the degree of risk of a drug trial. Indeed, there is robust empirical evidence that COIs can influence how results of drug trials are reported and interpreted. Together, Roseman's studies highlight the urgent need to reform guidelines that govern the conduct of systematic reviews, and provide recommendations for greater transparency of reporting.