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Drug Companies Influence Breast Cancer Treatment Studies

You may recall the ridiculous and dangerous bias that drugmakers show toward their own useless and toxic concoctions in the studies they fund. The very same thing is true for breast cancer treatment trials, according to a new report.

Again, the numbers tell the real story here, based on a review of 140 studies published in 1993 (45), 1998 (39) and 2003 (56) and culled from 10 medical journals:

  • 48 percent of all the studies considered were tainted in some way by drug company funding.
  • Drug company funding for these breast cancer studies increased from 44 percent to 58 percent by the end of the study.
  • 84 percent of the studies published in 2003 funded by drug companies yielded positive results versus 54 percent from other funding sources.
  • 66 percent of the 2003 studies were single-arm studies, meaning a drug's effectiveness wasn't tested by a comparison group.

One more interesting factoid worth noting that tells you all you need to know about how damning this study really is: Three of the four researchers who worked on it do consulting for drug companies, including Merck, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.

Cancer February 26, 2007

Washington Post February 26, 2007