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Sponsorship bias in the comparative efficacy of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy for adult depression: Meta-analysis

  • Ioana A. Cristea (a1), Claudio Gentili (a2), Pietro Pietrini (a3) and Pim Cuijpers (a4)
Abstract
Background

Sponsorship bias has never been investigated for non-pharmacological treatments like psychotherapy.

Aims

We examined industry funding and author financial conflict of interest (COI) in randomised controlled trials directly comparing psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy in depression.

Method

We conducted a meta-analysis with subgroup comparisons for industry v. non-industry-funded trials, and respectively for trial reports with author financial COI v. those without.

Results

In total, 45 studies were included. In most analyses, pharmacotherapy consistently showed significant effectiveness over psychotherapy, g = -0.11 (95% CI -0.21 to -0.02) in industry-funded trials. Differences between industry and non-industry-funded trials were significant, a result only partly confirmed in sensitivity analyses. We identified five instances where authors of the original article had not reported financial COI.

Conclusions

Industry-funded trials for depression appear to subtly favour pharmacotherapy over psychotherapy. Disclosure of all financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry should be encouraged.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Ioana A. Cristea, Babes-Bolyai University, Republicii 37 Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania 400015. Email: ioana.cristea@ubbcluj.ro
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

P.P. received speaker fees from Jansen-Cilag.

Footnotes
References
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Sponsorship bias in the comparative efficacy of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy for adult depression: Meta-analysis

  • Ioana A. Cristea (a1), Claudio Gentili (a2), Pietro Pietrini (a3) and Pim Cuijpers (a4)
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