Re: Availability of evidence of benefits on overall survival and quality of life of cancer drugs approved by European Medicines Agency: retrospective cohort study of drug approvals 2009-13
The legitimate concerns raised by Davis and colleagues (BMJ 2017;359:j4530) about the availability of data on overall survival and quality of life benefits of cancer drugs approved recently in Europe, had been addressed, albeit from a different angle, as early as 2011, for one of the diseases included in Davis’ survey .
Davis and colleagues conclude that their systematic evaluation of oncology approvals by the European Medicines Agency, in the years 2009-13, shows that most drugs, entered the market without evidence of benefit on survival or quality of life.
To the reasonable discussion presented by these authors, I would like to add another general observation about scientific articles which I find perplexing.
Why is it that highly educated, highly intelligent, competent investigators, presenting their results in highly respected medical journals, now require a professional writer, invariably payed by the sponsoring drug company, to articulate their findings? Can the authors of such practices really claim these papers as their own? Or should bibliometric organisations now devise systems marking with an asterisk those papers authored by someone but written by another?
Spyros Retsas MD FRCP
Medical Oncologist (Retired)
Retsas S. Latest developments in the treatment of melanoma: ‘a penicillin moment for cancer’? J R Soc Med 2011: 104: 269–272. DOI 10.1258/jrsm.2011.100405
Competing interests: No competing interests