(HealthDay News) – Industry-sponsored clinical trials of rheumatoid arthritis drugs are no more likely to report positive outcomes than trials funded by other means, and in many cases use better methodology, according to research published in the July issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Nasim A Khan, MD, from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, and colleagues reviewed 103 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for rheumatoid arthritis drugs to examine whether industry funding was associated with outcomes.

The researchers found that 56.3% of RCTs were funded by industry, 18.4% were funded through nonprofit sources, 5.8% had mixed funding, and the funding source was not specified in the remaining 19.4%. In the 86 trials examined for outcomes there was no correlation between industry funding and positive outcomes (75.5% for industry vs. 68.8% for non-industry, 40% for mixed, and 81.2% for unspecified). Industry-funded studies were more likely not to be published (P=0.093) but were more likely to be double-blinded, adequately describe participant flow, and perform an intent-to-treat analysis.

“Industry funding was not associated with a higher likelihood of positive outcomes of published RCTs of drug therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, and industry-funded RCTs performed significantly better than non-industry-funded RCTs in terms of reporting the use of some key methodologic quality measures,” Khan and colleagues conclude.


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