Thursday, 25 October 2012

GSK Increase Transparency of Drug Testing

There is an accusation regularly levelled at companies that design and manufacture medicinal drugs that they lack transparency when it comes to releasing their own experimental results after they have tested their own drugs. Drug companies are under no obligation to release all of their results and some assume that results that cast their new products in a bad light are ignored and remain unpublished.

In particular clinical trials are crucial to demonstrate the effectiveness of a new drug and billions of dollars of investment can rest on each trial result - there is certainly a lot of financial pressure for each new drug to succeed though many do not and some fall at this last, most expensive hurdle.

In the US the distrust between pharmaceutical company and consumer has reached a peak for one company as it has been fined $3 billion after being found guilty of misleading the US government over the usefulness of  its drugs and in a watershed decision the company (GlaxoSmtihKline) has agreed to release details of all of its trials for peer assessment in publically available journals - both positive and negative results. This is a first for a pharmaceutical company but the likelihood is that others will follow.

It is hoped this move will allow greater scrutiny of all new drugs (or all new purposes for older drugs), increasing transparency and rebuilding trust in the proof of efficacy of the next generation of medications.

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