Letters Drug treatment in Parkinson’s disease

The BMJ, take heed: almost all studies have some degree of bias

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h5490 (Published 21 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5490
  1. Martin Toal, pharmaceutical physician1
  1. 1Wokingham, UK
  1. martin.toal{at}mac.com

In the section on cost effectiveness of initial drug treatment in Parkinson’s disease, Muzerengi and Clarke say that health economic studies on drugs for Parkinson’s disease were “funded by drug companies and results may be biased.”1 I wonder whether if I submitted a paper that said “However, these studies were funded by anti-pharma ideologies and may be biased,” the statement would escape editorial scrutiny. I doubt it.

I presume that the authors meant to use the word “biased” in a lay, non-technical sense, meaning deliberately distorted to suit a purpose. If not, then I wonder if they are aware that almost all studies have some degree of random or systematic bias. Do they also consider that entities other than drug companies may produce material that is biased? Some such people publish books to the retail market decrying the industry but escape any accusations of bias themselves. It is a pity that The BMJ has a blind spot for what is, ironically, its bias.


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5490


  • Competing interests: I am a fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine.


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