Conflicts of Interest in Research–ASCO Meeting

Abstract 6350 from the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO):

Source of Funding, conflict of Interest (COI), and the interpretation of cancer clinical trials

This study looked at the interpretation of clinical trials results by investigators with conflicts of interest (i.e. they were one way or another financially linked to a drug company sponsor). The conclusion of the researchers was that “COI (medicynic note–conflict of interest) is associated with highly positive conclusions that use superlatives to promote the experimental arm.”

Combine these findings with other studies that show that conflicts of interest between practicing physicians and drug companies influence a physician’s choice of drugs and you have a picture of an industry fatally compromised at each level by financial interests. Where is the patient’s interest? That appears to be secondary.

It should be noted, with some irony, that it’s impossible to find the declarations of financial conflicts of the authors of abstracts for the 2007 ASCO meeting.

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