Many drug trials never see publication

Why am I not surprised, when corporations and their unrelenting drive for profits above all else are behind so many medical decisions made in the U.S.A?

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Results of most drug trials are unreported, inaccessible to clinicians and patients, a new study confirms

 Patients asking their doctors if a new drug is right for them would do well to also ask for supporting evidence. Conclusions about drug safety and effectiveness in reports submitted to the FDA are sometimes changed to favor the drug in the medical literature, a new analysis finds. And nearly a quarter of submitted drug trials were never published at all, researchers report in the Nov. 25 PLoS Medicine.

Information published in journals is the most accessible to health care professionals and also drives marketing of new drugs. The new study suggests that this information is incomplete and biased, says health policy expert Lisa Bero of the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study.

An-Wen Chan, who wrote an accompanying commentary but was not involved with the work, says he does not think health care providers will be surprised to learn of suppression and inaccurate reporting of new drug information.

“These new findings confirm our previous suspicions that this is happening on a much broader systemic level. It shows that information is unavailable to those who really need it the most — the clinicians and the researchers,” says Chan, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “If we take the view that research on humans is ethical, is allowed based on an assumption of public good, then all clinical trial information should be publicly available.”

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