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UK: Drug companies' lack of full disclosure on clinical trials condemned

Date: 6 Jan 2014

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According to the Parliamentary public accounts committee, only around half of clinical trials are being published, making it impossible to make the right decisions with regard to patient care. Manufacturers published the results that were most favourable, it was claimed.

The conclusions came about from a study into the Department of Health's decision to spend £424m on stockpiling the influenza drug Tamiflu in the face of fears in recent years of the spread of bird flu from Asia. Certain studies have raised questions as to whether Tamiflu is actually effective, and a recent strain showed considerable resistance to the drug.

In the absence of agreement on how well Tamiflu works, the MPs said that discussions had been made difficult because important information was being held back.

Roche, the manufacturer of Tamiflu, had previously stated its support for transparency on clinical trials, announcing early in 2013 that it would be giving access to third party researchers to its data.

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