More drug deaths: Merck and PTC Therapeutics want clinical study reports to be secret

Published on November 22, 2019

Yet again, two US drug companies are trying to reintroduce secrecy. Merck and PTC Therapeutics have appealed an initial ruling that clinical study reports should not be considered confidential. On 11 September, Advocate General of the European Court of Justice, Gerard Hogan, found that disclosure of the documents would harm the companies’ commercial interests. The cases are now awaiting a final judgment from the European Court of Justice. It would be a serious setback for public health if the two US companies prevailed in court. The lack of access to the raw – unfiltered, uncoded and unselected – harms data in clinical trials is a major cause of the horrible situation we are in, documented by several independent studies with different methodologies, that our prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. Merck has previously demonstrated a callous disregard for human lives.

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Book review: Death of a whistleblower and Cochrane’s moral collapse

Published on November 6, 2019

… it was because Professor Gøtzsche was prepared to call out the lowering of scientific standards in Cochrane that the hierarchy felt compelled to plot his demise …  one of the worst show trials ever … in a manner that mirrors how the drug industry operates … the death of Cochrane rather than the whistleblower.

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Science and censorship — my story

Published on October 30, 2019

By Maryanne Demasi, Ph.D. August 19, 2019.

Science is facing a crisis of democracy. Now more than ever, vitriolic attacks are being leveled at people who debate opposing scientific views. Asking questions that challenge the establishment may be unsettling, but silencing debate and proclaiming that the “science is settled” is not the solution.

Belgian physician Jan Vandenbroucke once wrote, “Without the possibility of open debate, science simply ceases to exist.” As an investigative science journalist, I’ve had first-hand experience with censorship. …

Meeting in Erice, Sicily, 7-9 October 2019 about reducing drug harms

Published on October 25, 2019

Sponsored by the Uppsala Monitoring Centre and co-arranged by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in Oxford, 34 invited people participated in a three-day workshop, “Improving the detection, analysis and reporting of harms in medicines: exploring, enhancing and empowering.”

It has been shown in several independent studies that prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer (see the references under “About”). In many cases, the patients did not need the drugs that killed them. At the same time, it is also a fact that undertreatment occurs. The participants at the workshop therefore agreed to call for substantial changes in the way we research, regulate and use drugs.

A formal Erice Statement is in preparation; there will be additional meetings in future; and some of the participants will take various initiatives to change the status quo.

Tom Jefferson and Peter Gøtzsche from the Institute for Scientific Freedom and Carl Heneghan, Juan Ramon Laporte and Kim Witczak from its Advisory Board participated in the meeting.


BMJ News: Expelled Cochrane director to set up new institute for “integrity in science”

Published on January 11, 2019

Peter Gøtzsche, who was expelled from the Cochrane Collaboration last year, plans to found a new Institute for Scientific Freedom. The new organisation, whose goal is “to preverve honesty and integrity in science”, will be launched on 9 March at an international symposium in Copenhagen.

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