This Week In The Bmj

Better data should be available when drugs are introduced into practice

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 07 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:e

Donepezil was recently launched with favourable publicity as a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease, but debate over its effectiveness has been hampered by delays in publishing the clinical trials: these seem to suggest that the clinical benefit in a highly selected group of patients was small. On p 762 Melzer uses this example to question the clinical usefulness of the trials required for licensing, delays in publishing the evidence, and the way benefits are communicated. He suggests that trials should be conducted on more representative patients, should be published before the drugs are launched, and that advertisements should not refer to data outside the public domain.

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