Goldacre: Drug companies who hide research are unfit to experiment on people

Ben Goldacre, with plenty of reason, takes it to the drug companies for hiding data:

The pharmaceutical industry’s behaviour has collapsed into farce. Doctors and academics – who should feel optimism at working with the drug companies to develop new treatments – feel nausea instead, knowing that there are only informal systems to deal with buried data, and these have clearly failed.

In 2005 the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors put its foot down and said its journals would only publish trials that were fully registered before they started, which should make any that went missing much easier to spot. Several years later, as recorded in this column, fewer than half of all the trials that the editors published had been adequately registered, and more than a quarter were not registered at all.

[From Drug firms hiding negative research are unfit to experiment on people]

This has been going on quite some time now. The problem is clear, but neither the companies or the regulators are responding adequately. I’m by nature an optimist. But it’s hard not to share Goldacre’s despair:

I can’t see why any company withholding data should be allowed to conduct further experiments on people. I can’t see why the state doesn’t impose crippling fines. I hope it’s because politicians don’t understand the scale of the harm.


Related posts at Neuron Culture:

Wheels come off psychiatric manual; APA blames road conditions

The PharmacoScientific Creation of Well-Being

Pharma objects to empiricism, part xxx

Seroquel, preemption, prosecution, sex – Is the tide turning?

Pfizer pays $2.3 billion off-label marketing fine

Zyprexa, Infinite Mind, and mainstream vs. pajama press

and others in Pharma

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