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Does pharmaceutical-funded research produce biased reports in medical journals?

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Air date: May 12, 2013

Host: Barbara Lewis

Healthcare Policy & Public Health
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Interview: Peter Whoriskey, reporter, The Washington Post.

In 2003, when diabetes drug Avandia was released, The New England Journal of Medicine published an article about how the drug outperformed two leading competitors in a clinical trial. The study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Avandia; four of the authors were GSK employees, and the others had received support as consultants. The article failed to mention that Avandia showed early warning signs of causing sometimes fatal heart problems. Peter Whoriskey recently published a report, “Biased Research, Big Profits,” featuring the Avandia story and many others involving pharmaceutical company funded research. According to Whoriskey, the majority of research is now conducted and reported by pharmaceutical companies. Although the United States requires drug companies to disclose if they are conducting clinical trials, the public doesn’t have access to the information gained during these trials. Many are pushing the FDA to compel drug companies to release all of the data from drug trials for independent researchers to examine.

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