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Today's Boston Globe has an interview with Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, the editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, regarding the public registration and publication of all drug trial information -- not just the favorable ones that we typically see now. It's a small step but a step in the right direction.Here's the gist of the interview:
Here's the link for the full interview: Q&A Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen on drug trial resultsquote: Q. What long-term impacts will the trial registry have?For one thing, drug companies will think three times before they initiate a frivolous clinical trial, such as a ''seeding" trial in which the scientific hypothesis is marginal, but it gets the drug into the hands of a lot of physicians. Research shows that if a doctor has been an investigator, they're more likely to prescribe the drug in the future. This is really marketing disguised as research, and it will be diminished, which is a good thing. The second thing is this will enforce a discipline that hasn't existed in clinical trials. If you have to post your hoped-for outcomes at the start of a trial, you can't fudge it when the data come back. Sometimes researchers change what they look at, or focus on a subgroup or a slightly different endpoint. It's called outcome creep.Q. Why are these changes important?Clinical research in which drug companies develop a new drug is different from any other kind of research. You have altruistic patients who put themselves at risk because they believe it will lead to improved health for others. Currently, they're being treated just like mice: the data are a commodity, the drug company keeps the data secret, the drug company tells you what it wants when it wants. But because people are putting their health on the line to volunteer for trials, this needs to be a card game that is played with all the cards face up.