Intended for healthcare professionals


Transparency in clinical trial reporting

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 09 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4224


Collaboration between academics and industry in clinical trials

Linked BMJ opinion

Shining a light on industry collaboration

  1. Paula A Rochon, professor of medicine and health policy management & evaluation, and vice president of research1 2,
  2. Nathan M Stall, geriatrician and research fellow1 2,
  3. Rachel D Savage, epidemiologist and post-doctoral fellow1,
  4. An-Wen Chan, Phelan scientist and associate professor1 3
  1. 1Women’s College Research Institute, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada
  2. 2Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, ON, Canada
  3. 3Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  1. Correspondence to: P A Rochon paula.rochon{at}‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Untangling who did what

Patients, clinicians, regulators, and policy makers rely on clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy and safety of new drugs, vaccines, and devices.1 Since the 1990s, most clinical trials have had industry funders who collaborate with academics for clinical and methodological expertise, recruitment of study participants, and access to scholarly publications.23 More recently, industry has increasingly turned to contract research organizations for efficient oversight of clinical trials. These for-profit entities employ physician-scientists, pharmacists, biostatisticians, managers, and medical writers who take control of the design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of trials.34 This commercialization of the oversight of clinical trials has seen academic physicians shifted to comparatively minor roles.3

In a recent paper in the BMJ (doi:10.1136/bmj.k3654), Rasmussen and colleagues report a cross sectional analysis of 200 phase III and IV trials of vaccines, drugs, and devices published in high impact medical journals between 2014 and 2017 with full industry funding and at …

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