Open Access Open Badges Research article

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and productivity of schizophrenia trials: an ecological study

Carina Moll1, Ursula Gessler1, Stephanie Bartsch1, Hany George El-sayeh2, Mark Fenton2 and Clive Elliott Adams2*

Author Affiliations

1 Schule fuer Medizinische Dokumentation, Universitaetklinikum Ulm, Academie fuer Medizinische Berufe, Ulm, 89070, Germany

2 Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences University of Leeds 15 Hyde Terrace, Leeds, LS2 9LT, UK

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BMC Psychiatry 2003, 3:18  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-3-18

Published: 5 December 2003



The 5000 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group's database affords an opportunity to research for variables related to the differences between nations of their output of schizophrenia trials.


Ecological study – investigating the relationship between four economic/demographic variables and number of schizophrenia RCTs per country. The variable with closest correlation was used to predict the expected number of studies.


GDP closely correlated with schizophrenia trial output, with 76% of the total variation about the Y explained by the regression line (r = 0.87, 95% CI 0.79 to 0.92, r2 = 0.76). Many countries have a strong tradition of schizophrenia trials, exceeding their predicted output. All nations with no identified trial output had GDPs that predicted zero trial activity. Several nations with relatively small GDPs are, nevertheless, highly productive of trials. Some wealthy countries seem either not to have produced the expected number of randomised trials or not to have disseminated them to the English-speaking world.


This hypothesis-generating study could not investigate causal relationships, but suggests, that for those seeking all relevant studies, expending effort searching the scientific literature of Germany, Italy, France, Brazil and Japan may be a good investment.