Drug companies accused of holding back complete information on clinical trials

Administrator 1 Signs of the Times Health & Wellness
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Clinical trial results are being routinely withheld from doctors, undermining their ability to make informed decisions about how to treat patients, an influential parliamentary committee has claimed. MPs have expressed "extreme concern" that drug manufacturers appear to only publish around 50% of completed trial results and warned that the practice has "ramifications for the whole of medicine". Their conclusions have emerged in a public accounts committee report which examined the Department of Health's decision to spend £424m on stockpiling the flu drug Tamiflu, before writing off £74m because of poor record keeping. The MPs found that experts failed to agree on how well Tamiflu works, but discussions were hampered because important information was held back. Richard Bacon, a senior member of the committee, said the practice of holding back results was undermining the ability of doctors, researchers and patients to make informed decisions about treatments. "Regulators and the industry have made proposals to open up access, but these do not cover the issue of access to the results of trials in the past which bear on the efficacy and safety of medicines in use today," he said. "Research suggests that the probability of completed trials being published is roughly 50%. And trials which gave a favourable verdict are about twice as likely to be published as trials giving unfavourable results.
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