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abstract

  • Financial conflicts of interest are exceedingly common in biomedical research. Investigators with conflicts of interest are more likely to arrive at positive conclusions, perhaps as a result of biased study design, industry suppression of negative results, preferential funding by industry of projects that are likely to succeed, or biased interpretation of results on the part of investigators. Government and professional organisations have proposed guidelines for managing conflicts of interest, but in practice it is the policies of universities and medical journals that direct the actions of investigators. Academic researchers and the media have expressed concern about the influence of industry sponsorship on biomedical research, while industry is increasingly turning to private entities (such as contract research organisations) to conduct clinical trials. Research participants appear less concerned with conflicts of interest in biomedical research, perhaps due to a faith that such conflicts are being appropriately managed by institutions. After reviewing the literature, we provide recommendations for the ethical conduct of biomedical research in the presence of financial conflicts of interest.

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publication date

  • June 2008

published in