Focus on the important things: reforming medical trials

As Ben Goldacre reveals, the status quo in drug testing is nothing less than a scandal. Pharmaceutical companies are suppressing and blocking information, perfectly legally, that is causing adults and children to die. Reforming the system wouldn’t be too hard – a registry for all drug trials, before they begin, should be enough to get rid of most of the problems of suppressed publications. And compelling all pharmaceutical companies to put their trial results in the public domain would help tremendously.

All of us are present, past and future users of medicines. Getting rid of ineffective and dangerous drugs should be the great moral crusade of our time: this is far more important in terms of death and suffering, than the relatively few people who suffer from terrorism, violent crime, or even road accidents.

Imagine a political party that pledged to reform the drug testing system and do absolutely nothing else during their term in parliament. This would be a party it would be morally imperative to vote into office. Nothing else on offer in politics comes anywhere near.

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3 Responses to Focus on the important things: reforming medical trials

  • Matt Sharp says:

    Hi Stuart. I’ve just read Goldacre’s article, and it seems clear that there are major issues with clinical trials not being published. But isn’t there already a registry for all drug trials? The following page states: “The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) needs to review and approve the trial and issue a clinical trial authorisation (CTA). ”

    http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Clinical-trials/Pages/Howtrialsareregulated.aspx

    Presumably they keep a record of all the trials they authorise. Are these trials just not available to the end users (doctors/patients)?

    • Matt Sharp says:

      I suppose one issue would be that even if they keep a record of all the trials *they* authorise, they wouldn’t necessarily know about any that went on elsewhere in the world.

    • Juliana says:

      Great observation J, yes UB40 were one of my furiavote bands in the 80 s (showing our age now)this would be a really good bit of music to use at the start of any presentation / talk about Dyslexia ask the audinexce does anyone get it?I may be wrong, but would like to think that most people are more caring obout people with learning dificulites such as Dyslexia, than the government were about unpemloyment back in the those days.good to see you have started your blog well done.

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