Scrutiny of publication bias increases

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Glaxosmithkline

Bias in publications in medical journals is facing intense scrutiny again, following media reports GSK used a ghostwriting programme and separate research into combating the problem.

The Associated Press​ reports that court documents show GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) used a ghostwriting called CASPPER, which instructed salespeople to offer physicians help to write and publish articles.

Assistance ranged from “developing a topic​” to “submitting the manuscript for publication​”. According the Associated Press ​the memo said the aim of the programme was to “strengthen the product positioning and overcome competitive issues​”.

Leemon McHenry, a ghostwriting expert, told the Associated Press​ that the unusual aspect of the GSK programme is the degree to which it is intertwined with internal sales and marketing.

The product referred to in the memo is Paxil (paroxetine), which is currently the focus of personal injury and wrongful death suits. GSK has said that any help was noted in the published articles, the programme was not heavily used and was discontinued a number of years ago.

Ghostwriting and bias in the pharma industry has become increasingly scrutinised, leading to Senators Charles Grassley and Herb Kohl proposing a bill that would make companies disclose payments of more than $100 (€70) to physicians.

Research into detecting bias

The release of details from the memo coincides with research published in the British Medical Journal​ into using statistical methods to detect bias. Researchers compared antidepressant data from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), considered unbiased, and journals.

Following the investigation the researchers believe that contour enhanced funnel plots could be used to identify and adjust for publication biases.

This bias could be a result of selective reporting, post hoc​ searches for statistical significance and applying particular analysis methods to the data.

The complete research paper can be found here​.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Using SDTM, ADaM, and SEND

Using SDTM, ADaM, and SEND

Formedix | 09-Nov-2022 | Technical / White Paper

This article gives an overview of SDTM, ADaM, SEND and ARM, and discusses how these CDISC standards fit in with the wider clinical trial process, and how...

How to design an effective CRF

How to design an effective CRF

Formedix | 10-Oct-2022 | Technical / White Paper

CRFs and eCRFs are used for gathering patient data during clinical trials. They play a crucial role in helping to assess the safety and efficacy of clinical...

The Complexities of Ophthalmic Drug Development

The Complexities of Ophthalmic Drug Development

Altasciences | 04-Oct-2022 | Technical / White Paper

Ophthalmic drug development comes with a unique set of challenges that can be mitigated by working with an end-to-end solution provider with regulatory...

Because When It's On the Line... Capability Matters.

Because When It's On the Line... Capability Matters.

Baxter BioPharma Solutions | 01-Oct-2022 | Product Brochure

Baxter’s BioPharma Solutions business supports leading pharmaceutical companies in meeting their commercialization objectives by providing scientific expertise,...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars