Blumsohn has been in Wahsington, DC, speaking with the staff of the US Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) about the general problem of integrity of clinical research, prompting some renewed press coverage of this story. A brief Associated Press story summarized the issues involved. The Wall Street Journal (available here without a paid subscription) had another version, including this quote by Grassley
This isn't the first time, I bet it won't be the last, that we hear concerns about drug companies selectively witholding unfavorable clinical trial data. It's a recurring complaint and a detriment to rigorous scientific research.Meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Service did a long radio feature on the case, (audio available here, but a transcript is not yet available).
It's time for this issue to be back in the spotlight.
The pharmaceutical industry produces many very useful products, which as a physician I frequently prescribe. Now, however, the industry seems to expect stratospheric returns for for some of its newer drugs. Numerous anecdotes, some mentioned previously on Health Care Renewal, however, have suggested that the industry has sometimes manipulated research data to make their latest products appear to be wonder drugs deserving of such high price tags. The industry is currently faced with continuing skepticism and declining trust, which may eventually make it hard to support even more modest pricing. The public, physicians, and the pharmaceutical industry itself would be better served by the industry's clear rededication to clinical research integrity.