Journal article

Interpreting evidence in general practice: bias and conflicts of interest

Journal
Medicine Physicians (General practice) Corruption Conflict of interest Australia
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
Publication Year:
2018