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Most Often Cited Research Increasingly Industry Funded

Sixty-five of the 77 most cited studies received industry funding

MONDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- The most frequently cited medical research is increasingly funded by industry, such as biotechnology and drug companies, according to a study published online March 17 in BMJ.

Nikolaos A. Patsopoulos, M.D., of the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, and colleagues compared 289 most frequently cited articles in the Institute for Scientific Information database that were funded by public or industry sources from 1994 to 2003.

Most articles had at least one author with a university (76 percent) or hospital (57 percent) affiliation. The most common source of funding was from government or public entities (60 percent of articles) followed by industry (36 percent). But the proportion of most often cited articles funded by industry increased over time, equaling the proportion funded by government or public sources by 2001, with 65 of the 77 most often cited randomized trials receiving industry funding.

"Academic affiliations remain prominent among the authors of the most frequently cited medical research," the authors write. "Such research is increasingly funded by industry, often exclusively so. Academics may be losing control of the clinical research agenda."

In an editorial, Brendan Delaney of the University of Birmingham in England, who himself has taken speaking fees from drug companies, writes that "effective mechanisms are needed to protect [society's] interests against those of private individuals and corporations."

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