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Industry-Funded Research: Qualitatively Superior
There is a dodgy reputation attached to medical research studies receiving industry funding. Bias against industry-funded research has become so ingrained that, as the New York Times explains, JAMA has "cited ‘concerns about misleading reporting of industry-sponsored research’ to justify its stricter standards for any such research to be considered for publication. The new policy, requiring researchers with no financial connections to the sponsor to vouch for the data and perform statistical work, was promptly criticized in an editorial in The British Medical Journal as ‘manifestly unfair’ because it created a ‘a hierarchy of purity among authors.’"

While bias against industry-funded research is widespread and, in the case of JAMA, formalized, it is contradicted by a non-industry sponsored study of research quality. The NIH-sponsored analysis published in the International Journal of Obesity found, in the words of the NYT, that "the quality of data reporting in industry-sponsored research does seem to be different from that in other research: It’s better."

The study "suggests that, while continued efforts to improve reporting quality are warranted, such efforts should be directed at nonindustry-funded research at least as much as at industry-funded research."

The NYT science columnist worries "what will happen if the best scientists become afraid to work with the sponsors that can afford to pay for the most thorough studies. What happens to the quality of future research? And should this new study give pause to JAMA’s editors? By stigmatizing industry-sponsored research, is their ‘hierarchy of purity’ doing more harm than good?" Since unwarranted biases harm the quality of scientific research and policies based on that research, the answer is: yes.

See IJO article "Industry funding and the reporting quality of large long-term weight loss trials"

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