Editorials

Open access to industry's clinically relevant data

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7457.64 (Published 08 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:64
  1. Andrew Herxheimer, emeritus fellow, UK Cochrane Centre (andrew_herxheimer@compuserve.com)
  1. London N3 2NL

    Urgently needed, but when will we get it, and in what form?

    Last month GlaxoSmithKline announced that it would publish summaries of all its clinical trials of a new product once it had been launched.1 This decision followed news of a lawsuit brought by New York State alleging that the company had concealed the results of trials of paroxetine because they might have spoilt marketing plans. GSK said it had been considering the move for some months. A similar sounding policy was announced by Glaxo Wellcome in 19982 but seems to have been quietly abandoned in 2000 after the merger with Smith KlineBeecham.

    The arguments for free public access to all clinically relevant data on a company's drug have been stated many times: clinicians, patients, and the institutions that pay for health services all need the data to make good choices and to use drugs in the best ways, maximising their benefits and minimising harms. That is true not only for individual drugs and treatments, but also for the more efficient and speedy management of knowledge. Systematic reviews of treatments (both of individual treatments and of a range of treatment options for a problem) are bound to be biased …

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