Commercial funding and results of pediatric critical care RCTs: A systematic review

Duffett M, Choong K, Hartling L, Menon K, Thabane L, Cook D.

Aims & objectives

Commercial funding of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) is associated with positive results in other clinical areas.


We searched the Evidence in Pediatric Intensive Care Database ( is database searches MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS and CENTRAL for pediatric critical care RCTs using comprehensive search strategies. We included RCTs published in English that compared two interventions and reported a primary outcome. We excluded cross-over and non-inferiority trials. Pairs of reviewers screened stud- ies for eligibility and abstracted data. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus.


We included 151 trials, randomizing a total of 21 222 children, pub- lished between 1986 and July 4, 2013. 26 (17%) RCTs reported funding from a commercial source. e primary outcome results were positive in 58 (38%) trials, negative in 5 (3%), and not statistically signi cant in 64 (42%) of trials. Of 26 trials reporting commercial funding, 9 (35%) had positive results, which was not di erent from those that those that did not report commercial funding (49 of 125 (39%); p=0.66). Commercially funded trials were more often multi- centered (46% vs. 21%; p=0.01) but were not more likely to study medications (58% in both groups), be stopped early (19% vs. 15%; p=0.61), or report blind- ing (73% vs. 54%; p=0.07) than those that did not report commercial funding. e median (IQR) number of participants enrolled was also not di erent (48 (35 to 181) vs. 60 (37 to 102) p=0.82). Using logistic regression, early stopping was independently associated with positive results (p=0.01) but commercial funding, year of publication, and use of a pharmaceutical intervention or blinding were not.


Commercial funding is not common among pediatric critical care trials and does not appear to be associated with positive results in these trials.

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This poster was presented at the SCCM Critical Care Congress (January 2014; San Francisco, California).