Doctors cast skeptical eye on pharma-backed studies

Physicians are deeply suspicious of industry-funded randomized clinical trials, even when they are of high methodological rigor, according to recently published findings.

The study, which appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, comes amid efforts by leading pharmaceutical companies to close what they see as a “credibility gap” faced by industry-sponsored research. The study’s authors and other experts argue that high-profile controversies such as misleading and selectively reported trial data related to Merck’s Vioxx (rofecoxib) and GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia (rosiglitazone) have made physicians more doubtful of pharma-sponsored studies.

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