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Despite Vow, Drug Makers Still Withhold Data
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times

New York Times, May 31, 2005
Posted: December 7th, 2006

When the drug industry came under fire last summer for failing to disclose poor results from studies of antidepressants, major drug makers promised to provide more information about their research on new medicines. But nearly a year later, crucial facts about many clinical trials remain hidden. Eli Lilly and some other companies have posted hundreds of trial results on the Web and pledged to disclose all results for all drugs they sell. But other drug makers, including Merck and Pfizer, release less information and are reluctant to add more, citing competitive pressures. As a result, doctors and patients lack critical information about important drugs ... and the companies can hide negative trial results by refusing to publish studies, or by cherry-picking and highlighting the most favorable data. GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a suit ... alleging that Glaxo had hidden results from trials showing that its antidepressant Paxil might increase suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers. Federal laws require the disclosure of all trials and trial results to the F.D.A. But companies are not required to disclose trial results to scientists or the public. Under pressure from the editors of medical journals, the major drug companies in January agreed to expand the number of trials registered on Three companies have filed only vague descriptions of many studies, often failing even to name the drugs under investigation. For example, Merck describes one trial as a "one-year study of an investigational drug in obese patients."

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