Table 1

Coding variables for clinical trials of herbal remedies and pharmaceuticals and associated newspaper articles

Coding variable: clinical trials

Herbal remedy clinical trial

(N = 57)

Pharmaceutical clinical trial

(N = 48)

Statistical significance


Mean number of benefits

1.6

1.4

NS

Mean number of risks

0.9

1.1

NS

Mean sample size

144

12,124

P < 0.0001

Mean duration of trial (days)

124

1435

P = 0.008

Mean Jadad score

3.2

3.1

NS

Dose specified

94.7%

72.9%

P = 0.002

Trial described as randomized

78.9%

72.9%

P = 0.001

Trial described as double-blind

71.9%

68.8%

P < 0.001

Withdrawals and dropouts described

82.5%

79.2%

NS

Conflicts of interest NOT specified

77.2%

50.0%

P = 0.003

Funding of trial NOT specified

33.9%

8.3%

P = 0.004

Coding variable: newspaper articles

(N = 352)

(N = 201)

Mean word count

698

716

NS

Mean number of benefits

1.3

1.2

NS

Mean number of risks

0.53

1.3

P < 0.0001

Source of funding NOT specified

83.5%

81.6%

NS

Conflicts of interest NOT specified

96.6%

96.0%

NS

At least one scientific/technical error in reporting on the trial

99%

99%

NS

Duration of the clinical trial NOT specified

59.7%

57.2%

NS

Sample size NOT specified

41.5%

29.4%

P < 0.0001

Dose NOT specified

81.0%

95.5%

P < 0.0001

Location of trial NOT specified

32.1%

32.3%

NS

Randomization NOT specified

89.2%

94.0%

NS

Double-blinding NOT specified

90.3%

98.5%

P < 0.0001

Use of placebo NOT specified

45.7%

72.6%

P < 0.0001

Withdrawals/dropouts NOT specified

98.0%

97.5%

NS


NS = not significant

Bubela et al. BMC Medicine 2008 6:35   doi:10.1186/1741-7015-6-35

Open Data