Intended for healthcare professionals


Industry sponsored bias in cost effectiveness analyses

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 13 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5350
  1. Ava John-Baptiste, fellow1,
  2. Chaim Bell, clinician scientist2
  1. 1Women’s College Research Institute, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada
  2. 2St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 1W8
  1. bellc{at}

Evidence is growing that the involvement of industry in cost effectiveness analyses can affect the findings. A systematic review of published cost-utility analyses found that industry funded studies were more than twice as likely to report a cost-utility ratio below $20 000 (£12 700; $14 850) per quality adjusted life year (QALY) as studies sponsored by non-industry sources.1 The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom found that cost effectiveness analyses submitted by manufacturers produced significantly lower ratios than those derived by assessors at academic centres.2


A study recently published in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care build on these findings.3 Garattini and colleagues assessed the relation between industry sponsorship and the findings of pharmacoeconomic analyses performed on single drug treatments from 2004 to 2009. About 95% of 138 analyses sponsored by industry had favourable results compared with only 50% of those without industry sponsorship. Favourable findings were more likely even if the author was affiliated with any consultancy. Despite a lack of clarity regarding some of the investigators’ methodological choices—for example, it was unclear …

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