… I can see no reason for industry to have a seat at the table in the negotiations about data transparency at all. The misuse of their current ownership of the data, the record of the level of corruption in reporting, the number of negative studies with-held, the soft-pedaling of adverse effects, all point to what happens when they are allowed to control the data. The only pertinent issues are the true efficacy of the drugs and an accurate reporting of the adverse effects. The economic health of the current pharmaceutical industry is, in my mind, an immaterial point, as is whether they join AllTrials or not. If the standards required to guarantee the integrity of our pharmacopeia are prohibitive to our current system, then our system needs to change – not our standards. So as to the argument in the comments in this post above, I have nothing but respect for all parties represented and all of their efforts. But when it comes to the involvement of industry in deciding where we’re headed on this issue, I agree with BMJ editor Dr. Fiona Godlee who said that they have an “irreducible conflict.” In my mind, their track record is ample proof that they aren’t responsible players and should be viewed with the highest index of suspicion they’ve earned. This is closer to a war than a negotiation. The task of evaluating the efficacy and safety of medications is an essential obligation of the medical scientific community to our patients – a bottom line. It’s irrational to move that line because of the economic needs of any commercial sector. If that impedes research into new treatments, that simply means we have to rethink how we do medical research.
People in the know [and I consider both Goldacre and Healy to be such people] have a variety of differences on how to proceed now that it’s very clear that we can’t even consider the possibility that PHARMA will be self regulating. I defer to their judgement on how to resolve their differences [so long as PHARMA has no seat at the table]. But quite honestly, if PHARMA were out of the way, I doubt that there would be any differences to resolve. I expect we’d all be out trying to practice decent medicine instead of fighting about drug marketing and deceitful science. As a doctor, I’d be willing to just live with the drugs I can trust right now until this all gets ironed out. We’ve been blackmailed and compromised long enough.