Industry ties may expand indications

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A study of government drug review advisory panels suggests that those with members who have financial ties to the drug industry recommended expansion of labeled disease indications for the drugs examined.

Published in the online journal PLOS Medicine, the study by six Australian physicians sought to identify guidelines in which disease definitions were changed, and the extent of panel members' industry ties.

They looked at publications between 2000 and 2013 from guideline panels making decisions about definitions or diagnostic criteria for common conditions in the US. Of 16 publications on 14 conditions, 10 proposed changes widening and one narrowing definitions. Among panels with disclosure, the average proportion of members with ties was 75%.

The authors found that diagnostic thresholds are being lowered by panels dominated by those with financial ties to multiple companies that may benefit from those decisions, raising questions about current processes of disease definition.

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