Study: Doctors use device and drug trials of spotty quality

Medical device and drug trials often vary widely in size and quality. As a result, they become flawed resources providers rely on to help determine how to best treat patients, according to an analysis of more than 40,000 clinical trials registered in the government database ClinicalTrials.gov. The study shows that most device guidelines and major medical decisions for drugs are supported by uneven trials often conducted with small groups of patients, rather than high-quality published evidence based on large, detailed trials, lead author Dr. Robert Califf of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute in Durham, NC, told Reuters. The results, according to the story, showed that 62% of the trials recruited 100 or fewer patients, and 75% of the testing took place at a single site. Device or drug companies themselves supported 44% of the trials that cited a funding resource. Details are published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Story

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