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Industry-funded versus non-profit-funded critical care research: a meta-epidemiological overviewOpen access

Perrine Janiaud| Ioana-Alinea Cristea| John P. A. Ioannidis
Review
Volume 44, Issue 10 / October , 2018

Pages 1613 - 1627

Abstract

Purpose

To study the landscape of funding in intensive care research and assess whether the reported outcomes of industry-funded randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are more favorable.

Methods

We systematically assembled meta-analyses evaluating any type of intervention in the critical care setting and reporting the source of funding for each included RCT. Furthermore, when the intervention was a drug or biologic, we searched also the original RCT articles, when their funding information was unavailable in the meta-analysis. We then qualitatively summarized the sources of funding. For binary outcomes, separate summary odds ratios were calculated for trials with and without industry funding. We then calculated the ratio of odds ratios (RORs) and the summary ROR (sROR) across topics. ROR < 1 implies that the experimental intervention is relatively more favorable in trials with industry funding compared with trials without industry funding. For RCTs included in the ROR analysis, we also examined the conclusions of their abstract.

Results

Across 67 topics with 568 RCTs, 88 were funded by industry and another 73 had both industry and non-profit funding. Across 33 topics with binary outcomes, the sROR was 1.10 [95% CI (0.96–1.26), I2 = 1%]. Conclusions were not significantly more commonly unfavorable for the experimental arm interventions in industry-funded trials (21.3%) compared with trials without industry funding (18.2%).

Conclusion

Industry-funded RCTs are the minority in intensive care. We found no evidence that industry-funded trials in intensive care yield more favorable results or are less likely to reach unfavorable conclusions.

Keywords

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