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NICE accuses drug companies of withholding data

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 02 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:320
  1. Katherine Burke
  1. London

    Drug companies have successfully withheld important data from investigations carried out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) because the institute has no powers of inspection, the parliamentary health committee inquiry heard last week.

    The institute's chief executive, Andrew Dillon, told MPs that drug companies have refused to disclose the patient-level data needed to calculate how cost effective interferon beta is for treating multiple sclerosis.

    “Their reasons were that it was confidential information that would breach the agreement they had with these patients and that it wasn't relevant,” said Mr Dillon during the third hearing of the committee's inquiry into NICE.

    Two experts—Sheila Bird, a Cambridge biostatistician and a member of the institute's appraisal committee, and Iain Chalmers, director of the Cochrane Centre—have both written to the select committee expressing their concern that …

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