GlaxoSmithKline is the first pharmaceutical company to share the results of its clinical trials. Andrew Witty, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, announced the decision to allow researchers’ access to GSK clinical trial data in a meeting at Welcome Trust in London few days ago.
The reports stated the initiative came about after GSK was fined 3 billion dollars because they misrepresented data of 2 anti-depressant drugs and failed to expose safety concerns of a diabetic drug. One of the antidepressant drug was associated with suicidal thoughts in children.
Witty said in his speech, ‘Over the last four or so years we at GSK have been working hard to be more open and transparent. As I have shown these new approaches are helping to provide new solutions for serious global health issues. They will also help build society’s trust.”
It is worth mentioning that research results of many fields are open to the public such as genomic studies and physics but not clinical trials. For example the NCBI website has databases of DNA, RNA and proteins open to the public.
Such a big step by a big pharmaceutical company could be the beginning of a new era where the pharmaceutical industry is exposed to more public scrutiny. The independent scientific community will be able to double check the results generated by pharma’s clinical trials and even replicate the studies, if they wish. All for the good of the public who hopefully, will have access to drugs that have been rigorously tested.
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