posted on Oct, 21 2012 @ 11:05 AM
It's a tough issue. The way things work, our tax dollars and donations fund research - but the research is privately owned and used for private
profit. Big Pharma and Big Business hold the rights.
Now, things might be changing. Maybe.
Uncloaking Clinical Trials
GlaxoSmithKline will share long-sought, raw trial data—but access will be tightly controlled.
In an about-face on the issue of candor, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will systematically begin making its vast archives of
clinical trial data available to researchers, the company announced last week (October 11). But the data won’t be completely accessible: GSK will
still control access by assembling a panel, charged with reviewing and granting requests to view the data, to “ensure that this information will be
used for valid scientific endeavor.”
In the announcement, the company—which once sided with the rest of the pharmaceutical sector by keeping all such unpublished data under lock and key
—explained the philosophical flip by stating that a data release will “enable additional scientific inquiry and analyses to further scientific
knowledge and help bring benefit to patients.” The decision comes in the wake of several trial-related scandals by big pharmaceutical
companies over the past decade, including one earlier this year in which GSK paid a whopping $3 billion settlement to US authorities for—in
part—obfuscating clinical trial results.
Everybody's hoping for the best, but few are convinced...
The new access has some GSK researchers and academic scientists hopeful of greater transparency and collaboration in the future. ...others are wary of
the restrictions and hesitant to laud GSK until it’s clear how accessible and detailed the released data will be.
“Let’s wait and see,” Kay Dickersin, director of the Center for Clinical Trials at the Johns Hopkins University told Nature. Dickersin warned
that the real value of such a reveal would be determined by the details of the data sets, including the patient-level information, the trial design,
and analysis explanation—aspects GSK has not explicitly stated will be available.