Tallon, Chard and Dieppe177 report that of 930 controlled trials of treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee, 59% were drug trials, and 26% trials of surgery. They suggest that many of these address questions of little relevance to current management of the disease. They used focus groups and a postal survey to investigate the views and priorities of research consumers. They found that although groups wanted research into areas such as education, self-help, physiotherapy and exercise, most of the commercial funding was going into trials of drug therapy. Dieppe et al.182 present a subset of these data. In another study, Chard, Tallon and Dieppe183 show that research on oral drugs produced positive results more often than research on other interventions, and that commercially funded studies were more likely to show positive results than non commercially-funded studies.
CONCLUSION: Pharmaceutical company funding of research influences the topics studied and the outcome of research.