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Relationship between the conflicts of interest and the results of meta-analyses of homoeopathy trials
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  • Published on:
    Perrier et al a deeply flawed study on Conflict of Interests in Homeopathy meta-analyses

    We read with interest the study by Perrier et al on the Relationship between the conflicts of interest and the results of meta-analyses of homoeopathy trials. We want to briefly address issues we see with this paper.
    Firstly, the criteria for a study presenting a Conflict of Interest (CoI) include that a single author has a link with any research institution involved in homeopathy research. Translated to other fields of research, Oncology for example, this would mean that cancer studies emanating from Cancer Research institutes would have to be considered as conflicted and therefore unreliable. This is clearly an absurd way of defining CoIs.
    More importantly, the authors wrongly report the Odds Ratio (OR) data for the Shang et al paper as being OR = 0.88, CI 0.65-1.19, N=105, this OR corresponds to the N=8 ‘larger high-quality trials’ from that study, not N=105. The OR for N=105 was never published but the OR for the N=21 ‘high-quality trials’ is OR = 0.76; CI: 0.59-0.99, N=21 (Ludtke & Ruttem 2008). Ignoring the meaningless N=1 MAs in Fig 1, we end up with three CoI-free MAs, which all favour homeopathy. And this trend would only be accentuated by using the correct OR for the full N=105 trials. The overall picture painted by the data is thereby very different than reported by the authors. In particular there appears to be no statistical difference between their so-called CoI and CoI-free MAs in Homeopathy.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.