Background: Many published clinical trials are authored by investigators with financial conflicts of interest. The general medical literature documents the pervasive extent and sometimes problematic impact of these conflicts. Accordingly, there is renewed discussion about author disclosure and clinical trial registry to minimize publication bias from financial conflicts of interest. Despite this evolving discussion in the general medical literature, little is known about the extent or role of financial conflicts of interest in dermatology research.
Objective: Our purpose was to determine the extent and impact of industry sponsorship conflicts of interest in dermatology research.
Methods: We recorded potential financial conflicts of interest, study design, and study outcome in 179 clinical trials published between Oct 1, 2000 and Oct 1, 2003 in four leading dermatology journals.
Results: Forty-three percent of analyzed studies included at least one author with a reported conflict of interest. These studies were more likely to report a positive result, demonstrate higher methodological quality, and include a larger sample size.
Conclusions: Conflict of interest in clinical investigations in dermatology appears to be prevalent and associated with potentially significant differences in study methodology and reporting.