Strengths and limitations of industry vs. academic randomized controlled trials

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Clinical research has evolved substantially over the last two decades, but industry-sponsored research is still substantially superior to academic research in preparing, organizing and monitoring studies. Academics have to realize that conducting clinical research has become a real job with professionalism requirements. The primary objectives of research and development clearly differ between industry and academics. In the first case, new drug development is expected to generate profit, whereas in the latter case, research is aimed at understanding mechanisms of disease, promoting evidence-based medicine, and improving public health and care. However, a large number of clinical studies do not achieve their goals, and the reasons for failure may also differ between sponsored and academic studies. Industry and academics should develop better constructive partnerships and learn from each other. Academics should guide industry in study design and in investigator site selection, and academics should benefit from industry's expertise in improving monitoring and reporting processes. Finally, the existing database from former studies should be opened and shared with academics, to enable the exploration of additional scientific questions and the generation of new hypotheses. The two types of research should not be opposed, but should take the form of a constructive collaboration, increasing the chances of reaching each individual goal.




Laterre, P. F., & François, B. (2015, October 1). Strengths and limitations of industry vs. academic randomized controlled trials. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. Elsevier.

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