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Journal article

Interpreting evidence in general practice: bias and conflicts of interest

1 Jun 2018
Description

Background

Sponsorship of research and education occurs commonly in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and food and drink industries. This sponsorship is a conflict of interest, creating a situation where there may be bias in favour of the sponsors’ interests. General practitioners (GPs) need to be aware of potential conflicts of interest in industry-sponsored research and education.

Objective

The aim of this article is to alert GPs to the risk of bias in research and education funded by for-profit organisations, and to provide strategies to avoid being influenced by information that may be biased.

Discussion

Types of bias known to be associated with industry sponsorship include: methodological bias, where there is a systematic error in the design, conduct or analysis of the study such that it deviates from the truth; agenda bias, where study topics align with increased use of industry products; publication and reporting bias, where unfavourable studies or results are suppressed or omitted; and marketing bias, where supportive evidence is preferentially disseminated and sympathetic opinion leaders are given a broad platform. Industry influence can be reduced by seeking out independent reviews and avoiding industry-funded educational events.

Publication Details
Volume: 
47
Issue: 
6
Pagination: 
337-340
Language: 
License Type: 
All Rights Reserved
Peer Reviewed: 
Yes
Published year only: 
2018
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