Sunday, October 31, 2010

How JAMA managed to avoid becoming an advertising platform for the pharmaceutical companies

(Note: this is a follow up to my previous post).

In July 2005, JAMA began to require industry-supported studies to undergo independent statistical analysis. To see if this requirement affected the number of industry sponsored studies publicized in JAMA, Wager et al. (October 2010) looked for all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in JAMA from 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2008.

They classified the trials according to their funding sources: Industry funded (IF), joint industry plus nonindustry funding (J), industry supported (IS) (the pharma companies provide the materials but don't design or execute the studies), non-commercial (N) and funding not stated (NS). The broad 'industry' category included the IF, J and IS studies. The Lancet and NEJM were used as control (these journals don't have the same requirement).

Both the total number of RCTs and the proportion of industry RCTs decreased in JAMA after July 2005. In the mean time, the proportion of industry RCTs in NEJM and The Lancet rose significally. The number of industry-supported and jointly funded studies in JAMA went down about as much as the number of solely industry-funded studies.

In light of these fundings, the authors wonder (and rightly so) whether the pharma industry 'boycott' JAMA in response to its policy and what, exactly, it means about the RCTs published in The Lancet and NEJM?

Wager, E., Mhaskar, R., & Warburton, S. (2010). JAMA Published Fewer Industry-Funded Studies after Introducing a Requirement for Independent Statistical Analysis PLoS ONE, 5 (10) : 10.1371/journal.pone.0013591

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