The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure

Disclosure issues have permeated the news lately.  Pharmaceutical companies need to do a better job of disclosing adverse clinical trial results and side effects; companies and doctors need to do a better job of disclosing payments; and journals need to do a better job of disclosing author conflicts.

You could view the question of whether to disclose from a lot of different perspectives, but I’m hard pressed to find one that argues in favor of secrecy: economic (efficient markets), legal (Exchange Act, FDAAA, FTC), and corporate (reputational harm) considerations all seem to point to disclosure.

While there will always be some level of outright fraud, and there is risk to individuals who do disclose (risk to future work, inability to publish, etc.), institutions should be moving toward increased disclosure. 

Some have:

  • GlaxoSmithKline is heading in the right direction.  Last year they promised to publish payments to U.S. doctors for consulting and other services starting in 2010, and to cap those payments at $150,000 per doctor a year. Now, the company is planning to expand its disclosure to include money paid to doctors and their institutions to carry out clinical trials, and fees it pays European doctors for advice on developing new drugs.
  • The American Psychiatric Association (pdf) Board of Trustees voted this month to phase out industry-supported symposia along with industry-supplied meals at its annual meetings.

I vote for more.

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