What: In a system where half of all clinical trials never see the light of publication, doctors are merely “imagining that we’re practicing evidence-based medicine,” says Ben Goldacre, MBBS, a British physician and science journalist. Goldacre is among the most vocal critics of drugmakers who refuse to hand over complete clinical trial data, making it impossible for doctors and patients to get the full picture on most of the medicines widely used today. He decries the industry’s behavior in his new book, Bad Pharma, which in itself is a review of the evidence on evidence review and the stumbling blocks incurred by researchers who try to dig deeper. A campaign he has helped to start called AllTrials.net, which is calling on pharmaceutical companies to release all of their data, not just the positive ones, is gaining traction. Although a major Pharma trade group denounced the move as dangerous, GlaxoSmithKline has already agreed to sign on.
Why: With so many adverse reactions to drugs not being made public until years after their approval, AllTrials.net could result in some vital transparency in the entire process of pharmaceutical research. As pressures mount on healthcare to deliver the holy grail of evidence-based medicine, that information will be invaluable.