Study: Media seldom cites pharma funding for med research

Though the funding itself is no secret, media organizations seldom note when such medication studies are paid for by pharmaceutical companies, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, conducted by researchers with Harvard Medical School, found that 42 percent of news articles on such studies failed to disclose funding sources. Meanwhile, only 3 percent of publications and online outlets studied had written policies governing such disclosures.

Two-thirds of news articles referred to pharmaceutical company brand names rather than the generic names, not surprising given that only 2 percent of newspaper editors said their publications had policies in place stating that they should refer to meds with generic names.

To conduct the study, researchers looked at more than 300 online and newspaper articles on company-funded medication studies published in medical journals between March 2004 and April 2008. They also surveyed editors at the most widely circulated U.S. newspapers to assess their views and practices with regards to medical research reporting.

To learn more about this study:
- read this HealthcareFinanceNews piece