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The weekly journal club at the University Psychiary Unit at the
National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, had the privilege to discuss this
article by Wieseler et al. I would like to highlight one interesting point
that was discussed.
Authors reveal how Pfizer tried to hide the fact that they had
specifically prevented the publication of a large number of studies. But
in the end the authors, or the institution they represent, IQWig, seems to
have pressurised Pfizer to provide the withheld data.
In the last paragraph under the subtopic 'Problems in obtaining data
for health technology assessment', one may read the following two
sentences: However, Pfizer then decided to provide most of the missing
data. The subsequent assessment showed that, overall, reboxetine had no
The interesting point here is that Pfizer provided only 'most of the
missing data', not all of them. And that reanalysis showed that
'reboxetine had no benefit.' It is interesting to think what might the
conclusion be if all the missing data was available. One can only imagine
what kind of data one would find in the studies that were not made
available by Pfizer in the end.
No competing interests
11 November 2010
Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka