An appeal for independent research and decision-making: How to produce trustworthy evidence for healthcare decisions without commercial interference

An appeal by an international team of researchers, clinicians, regulators, and citizen advocates in the current British Medical Journal / Article co-authored by Beate Wieseler from IQWiG

We all want to base our healthcare decisions on trustworthy evidence. But often enough, financial ties between the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry and healthcare players lead to bias in the production and interpretation of research results as well as to bias in medical education and clinical practice. This not only harms the individual, but also wastes valuable resources in the healthcare system. In the current issue of the BMJ, researchers from various fields, including Beate Wieseler, Head of the Drug Assessment Department at the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), therefore call to disentangle the ties between industry and decision-makers in the healthcare system at every level.

The authors present examples of independent decision-making processes and existing alternative funding models in research, education, and practice. At the same time, they outline possible steps towards greater independence from commercial interests. The authors see an important first step in the creation of laws that prescribe the comprehensive and publicly accessible disclosure of cash flows between the various parties involved in health care.

The authors do not claim that their proposals are complete. Their aim is rather to initiate and catalyse fundamental reforms in research, education, and practice. They call to actively support their proposals, e.g. through research projects.

Further information

Moynihan R., Bero L., Hill S., Johansson M., Lexchin J.,Macdonald H., Mintzes B., Pearson C., Rodwin M.A., Stavdal A., Stegenga J., Thombs B.T., Thornton H., Vandvik P.O., Wieseler B., Godlee F.

Pathways to independence: towards producing and using trustworthy evidence

BMJ 2019;367:l6576

doi: 10.1136/bmj.l6576

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