Thursday, April 10, 2014

A pivotal moment in the history of medicine

What the Tamiflu saga tells us about drug trials and big pharma

Today the long article by Ben Goldacre published in  The Guardian is a required reading. Those that have some doubts regarding the effectiveness of oseltamivir will see them vanishing. The Cochrane review explains the size of side effects and controversies that have surrounded such drug since flu pandemic in 2009.
The most important message goes beyond tamiflu, it is related to transparency in drug trials:
This is a pivotal moment in the history of medicine. Trials transparency is finally on the agenda, and this may be our only opportunity to fix it in a decade. We cannot make informed decisions about which treatment is best while information about clinical trials is routinely and legally withheld from doctors, researchers, and patients. Anyone who stands in the way of transparency is exposing patients to avoidable harm. We need regulators, legislators, and professional bodies to demand full transparency. We need clear audit on what information is missing, and who is withholding it.
Finally, more than anything – because culture shift will be as powerful as legislation – we need to do something even more difficult. We need to praise, encourage, and support the companies and individuals who are beginning to do the right thing.

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