Re: Andrew Witty: the acceptable face of big pharma?
8 March 2013
GSK has shown the path for other pharma companies to follow. By opening access to research data, the pharma companies will probably get back their lost reputation.
The Pharma Industry, of late, is viewed with Skepticism regarding their ethical conduct and concealing of research data. This is evident from numerous cases of malpractice and heavy penalty paid by Pharma companies in the US as well as in Europe.
Access to research data is critical as this would be statistically evaluated to calculate risk benefit ratio. When the benefits outweigh risks assoicated with use of medicine investigated, the regulatory agencies approve the medicine for marketing. Many a times research data can be interpreted in different ways and if some data is excluded from calculation might lead to different results. By his own admission Andrew Witty concedes that at times things go wrong, data is interpreted in different ways and mistakes are committed.
If Pharma companies are open to scrutiny of research data, many interesting facts can be later found out including some risk factors, different indications that benefits patient population.
Also the training of medical representatives is one of the main issues highlighted by Andrew Witty. Here, the role of graduates who have sound knowledge and understanding of medicines and pharmacology is important. If companies recruit people with basic background in science/pharmacy/pharmacology, they would be much better in promoting drugs than non-science graduates. This would lead to ethical marketing and companies need to spend less amount on training these graduates.
It is evident that big pharma is changing and this change is positive.
On a little side note, Rebecca Coombes has mentioned FDA as Food and Drink Administration. Rather it is Food and Drug Administration.
Competing interests: None declared
Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Manipal University
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