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Company-sponsored trials

Physicians participating in clinical trials funded by pharmaceutical companies continue to comply with the guidelines, but are more likely to prescribe drugs produced by the sponsoring company. At least when it comes to asthma treatments. It is the conclusion of a group of experts coordinated by Morten Andersen of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, authors of a research published in tomorrow's issue of 'Jama'. The analysis compared the behavior of 10 doctors who had conducted trials on anti-asthma drugs (for a total of 5,439 patients) with that of 165 'white coats' controls, who had not conducted trials (59,574 assisted patients). It turned out that the use of corticosteroids increased from 68.5% to 72.9% among asthmatics enrolled in the studies and from 69.1% to 73.3% among those not recruited in any survey, proving that participation in a trial does not greatly affect adherence to guidelines. But the doctors who had participated in a trial prescribed the medicines produced by the sponsoring company in a higher percentage of 26% than their 'control' colleagues. “Our analysis – the authors comment – confirms the hypothesis according to which participating in a study financed by a pharmaceutical company 'orients' the preferences of doctors. The underlying mechanisms are varied, including possible cases of comparison, but to understand more, it would be necessary to access information on the costs of the trials”.


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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco