Financial Ties Negatively Affect Perceptions of Research Quality

Patients believe their physicians' ties also influence clinical care
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Disclosure of financial ties to industry influences patients', physicians', and research participants' beliefs about the quality of research evidence, according to a review published in the April 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Adam Licurse, of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted a systematic review of quantitative studies of financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Twenty studies, out of 6,561 citations screened, met the inclusion criteria for the review.

Eleven studies evaluated the perception of quality as affected by financial ties. The researchers found that, regarding clinical care, patients believed that quality of care would be decreased and price of care increased by financial ties. In studies on the acceptability of financial ties, patients were more likely to consider personal gifts to physicians unacceptable, compared with professional gifts. Six of 10 studies on the importance of disclosure found that most research participants and patients think financial ties should be disclosed. The perception of journal quality was adversely affected by financial ties in two studies. In seven studies on willingness to take part in research, about a quarter of participants were less willing after disclosure.

"This review indicates that disclosure recipients -- patients, research participants, and physicians evaluating evidence -- want financial ties to be disclosed and are able to discriminate between different types of ties. Nevertheless, these disclosures appear to have a limited effect on behavioral outcomes, such as willingness to participate in research," the authors write.

One author served on a data and safety monitoring committee for a Genzyme Corporation clinical trial, and another has served as an expert witness.

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