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Renita Jablonski: There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding medical research lately. Last month a well known journal accused drug giant Merck of ghost writing papers about Vioxx. Publishing details about who pays for research could help clarify the work’s quality. But a study out today finds many scientific journals omit money trail disclosures. The authors say that hurts all of us. Janet Babin reports form the Marketplace Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.
Janet Babin: The study from Duke University looked at research published in 2006 on coronary stents, those tiny tubes doctors insert to open up your arteries. It tallied up how often researchers reported their funding sources and any potential conflicts of interest. Turns out that about three-quarters of all the stent papers left that information out. Lead author Kevin Weinfurt was shocked. He says the financials are essential. They help lay people and the scientific community evaluate the research.
Kevin Weinfurt: Who funds the study and the financial relationships of investigators can sometimes bias how the study is conducted or interpreted.
That’s not to say that any of the stent studies are biased. Weinfurt says this just points out that scientific journals and researchers need to adopt uniform rules about reporting financial data. Weinfurt’s study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.
In Durham, North Carolina, I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.