Roseman M, Milette K, Bero LA et al.Reporting of conflicts of interest in meta-analyses of trials of pharmacological treatments. JAMA 305:1008-1017

Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 03/2011; 305(10):1008-17. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.257
Source: PubMed


Disclosure of conflicts of interest (COIs) from pharmaceutical industry study funding and author-industry financial relationships is sometimes recommended for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in biomedical journals. Authors of meta-analyses, however, are not required to report COIs disclosed in original reports of included RCTs.
To investigate whether meta-analyses of pharmacological treatments published in high-impact biomedical journals report COIs disclosed in included RCTs.
We selected the 3 most recent meta-analyses of patented pharmacological treatments published January 2009 through October 2009 in each general medicine journal with an impact factor of at least 10; in high-impact journals in each of the 5 specialty medicine areas with the greatest 2008 global therapeutic sales (oncology, cardiology, respiratory medicine, endocrinology, and gastroenterology); and in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Two investigators independently extracted data on disclosed study funding, author-industry financial ties, and author employment from each meta-analysis, from RCTs included in each meta-analysis, and on whether meta-analyses reported disclosed COIs of included RCTs.
Of 29 meta-analyses reviewed, which included 509 RCTs, only 2 meta-analyses (7%) reported RCT funding sources; and 0 reported RCT author-industry ties or employment by the pharmaceutical industry. Of 318 meta-analyzed RCTs that reported funding sources, 219 (69%) were industry funded; and 91 of 132 (69%) that reported author financial disclosures had 1 or more authors with pharmaceutical industry financial ties. In 7 of the 29 meta-analyses reviewed, 100% of included RCTs had at least 1 form of disclosed COI (pharmaceutical industry funding, author-industry financial ties, or employment), yet only 1 of these 7 meta-analyses reported RCT funding sources, and 0 reported RCT author-industry ties or employment.
Among a group of meta-analyses of pharmacological treatments published in high-impact biomedical journals, information concerning primary study funding and author COIs for the included RCTs were only rarely reported.

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    • "It is unclear from the review by Fu et al. (2014) which studies were classified as containing a 'low risk of bias'. In addition, Fu and colleagues did not evaluate the funding of studies or include this in their quality appraisal, which is an important source of bias, especially in research concerning pharmacological agents such as vaccines [7] "
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    Vaccine 10/2014; 32(48). DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.09.045 · 3.62 Impact Factor
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    • "A study by Roseman and colleagues (8) investigated the prevalence in which meta-analyses published in high-impact medical journals report on funding sources and conflicts of interest of RCTs that they include. They report that in general, meta-analyses rarely report on COI and funding sources, citing that meta-analyses have no obligation in many high-profile journals to report on conflicts of interest of their included studies (8). These findings are similar to those of the present study, and indicate that the concern of lack of conflict of interest reporting is not exclusive to the field of dentistry. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: The issue of reporting conflicts of interest (COI) in medical research has come under scrutiny over the past decade. Absolute transparency is important when dealing with conflicts of interest to provide readers with all essential information required to make an informative decision of the results. The key objective of this study was to examine the prevalence of reporting conflicts of interest in therapeutic dental meta-analyses of Randomized Control Trials (RCTs), and to investigate possible associations with other categorical variables. Study Design: We conducted an extensive literature search across multiple databases to search for relevant review articles for this study. We utilized pre-determined key words, and relied on three reviewers to test and review the use of a data extraction form that was used for the meta-analyses. Data regarding study characteristics, direction of results, and the significance of the results from each meta-analysis were extracted. Results: There were 129 meta-analyses used in this review, and the reporting on conflict of interest was low with only 50 (38.8%) of the articles possessing a conflict of interest statement (either confirming of denying COI). Of these 50 articles, there were only 4 (8%) studies that reported an actual conflict of interest. A statement of conflicts of interest was found in 29 (35.3%) of the papers that reported significant findings, whereas 35% of the papers that reported positive results reported on conflict of interest. Prior to 2009, only 17 (25%) papers reported conflicts of interest, but since 2009, 54.1% of papers collected had a conflict of interest statement. Conclusions: Meta-analyses published in the field of dentistry do not routinely report author conflicts of interest. Although few conflicts appear to exist, the field of dentistry should continue to ensure that best evidence reports provide clear and transparent reporting of potential conflicts of interest in academic journals.
    Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry 07/2014; 6(3):e280-5. DOI:10.4317/jced.51225
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    • "Two authors (E.K. and J.L.) assessed risk of bias defined as " methodological characteristics of a study that can introduce a systematic error in the magnitude or direction of the results " (Higgins and Altman (editors) 2011) for included studies based on seven risk of bias domains using modified terminology and concepts in the Cochrane Collaboration's Tool for Assessing Risk of Bias. Informed by empirical data from meta-analyses conducted on pharmacological treatments (Roseman et al. 2011), we considered funding source and reported conflicts of interest to be potential sources of bias. We did not ask study authors for additional information to inform our risk of bias determinations. "
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