Drug companies have put their fingers on the scales to make studies on the “effectiveness of a dozen popular antidepressants” look better than they actually are. According to The Wall Street Journal unpublished data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration shows that drugs from Pfizer and Wyeth may not live up to their billing.
Why don’t studies with negative results see the light of day? Money.
Drug companies have a long history of being less than forthcoming about problems with some of their products. Billions of dollars are at stake, so the temptation is understandable. But, it is also dangerous as information for drugs like Vioxx appear to come out a bit late.
In one recent case Pfizer submitted five trials on its drug Zoloft to the FDA. Only the two studies with positive results made it into the marketplace.
The FDA bears some responsibility here and it is a shame that drug companies do not receive more public criticism from the agency.
At this point, it would not be surprising to see Congress step in and make its clear to the Big Pharma firms that hiding poor results comes with a price.
Douglas A. McIntyre
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