Orbiting Dicta

Drug Trials

A sobering footnote to Melody Petersen’s Our Daily Meds (see preceding) appeared in the November 25 Public Library of Science web site in the form of a review of reports by pharmaceutical companies submitted to the FDA over a six-year period.  According to the authors, of 164 reports following the approval of 33 drugs by the FDA in 2001-02, 22% were published only partially or entirely suppressed.  The suppressed information mainly reflected negative results.  In short, favorable reports were 70% more likely to be published. 


As Petersen amply documented, such manipulated information too commonly results in serious health problems including (as advertising caveats remind us hurriedly at the end of their nightly commercials on the evening news) sudden death.  Pharmaceuticals can be hazardous to your health!


A synopsis of the article can be found in the Dec. 20 Science News and on their web site: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/38881/title/Many_drug_trials_never_see_publication.  For the full article see Kristin Rising, Peter Bacchetti, and Lisa Bero, “Reporting Bias in Drug Trials Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration: Review of Publication and Presentation,” Public Library of Science / Medicine web page: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050217