Pharmaceutical companies could be forced to publish secret research into how drugs are created under new European laws, potentially revealing information about dangerous and unknown side-effects.
The rules would mean that some of the world’s most powerful drugs companies would have to share the results of clinical trials which could then be analysed by independent scientists.
Experts said that the move could also highlight if patients and customers have been fooled by placebos or drugs that have not been scientifically proven to work.
Drugs companies currently only release a small amount of their research data from clinical trials, with critics claiming that negative results are only half as likely to be published.
But the disclosure rules being drawn up by the European Medicines Agency, an EU body, have been met with resistance from pharmaceutical companies.
They claim that some of their information might be misinterpreted, potentially sparking a significant health scare around the use of a particular the drug.
In the last three years, 26 drugs companies have racked up fines of more than £7billion for acting dishonestly.
Britain’s largest pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced earlier this year that it would support a move for such legislation by publishing the results of all its clinical trials.
The move followed fierce criticism of the company after it was given a £1.9billion fine in the US in 2012, in part for withholding safety data about Avandria, its best-selling diabetes drug.
News of law comes as a leaked message from the head of a leading pharmaceutical industry body to company bosses revealed that patient groups would be used to try to block amendments to the clinical trials directive.
The email was sent by European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations director general Richard Bergström to the directors and legal departments at companies including Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.
In the email, seen by The Guardian, he says that patient groups will be ‘mobilised’ to express concerns about ‘the risk to public health by non-scientific re-use of data’.
But campaigners said that the groups – which are often funded by companies – are a ‘front for the pharmaceutical industry’.
Tim Reed, from campaign grouop Health Action International, said: ‘It’s incredibly ironic that this is a transparency initiative and we’ve now got clear indications that the pharmaceutical industry is ready to use patient organisations to fight their corner.
He told the Guardian: ‘It underlines the fact that patient groups who are in the pay of the pharmaceutical industry will go into battle for them. There’s a hidden agenda here.
‘Patient groups get traction because they are assumed to represent the voice of the suffering. But industry uses them to say we’re not going to get innovative medicines if the industry is deterred from investing by having to be transparent about their clinical trials.’
The EFPIA said: ‘Knowing that some people want all data to be made available to everyone, EFPIA is engaging with stakeholders to share concerns with harmful ‘re-use’ of data.
‘We will engage not only with patient groups, but also with the scientific community.’ - Mail Online
Ummm... Shouldn't pharmaceutical companies already be publishing all of the information for drug trials in the first place? What possible reason is there, being a company created for the sole purpose of healing people, to hide results of drug trials? Could it be? No! Never. Pharmaceutical companies want to HELP, they don't care about money. Yeah, sure, they're in a multi-billion dollar industry. Yeah, sure, there are only a handful of pharmaceutical companies dominating the global market. Yeah, sure, drugs are arguably not always the best approach to health in the first place. Yeah, sure, most drugs have death as a possible side effect. All of those things don't mean that pharmaceutical companies don't care. They spend millions developing drugs to try and cure diseases, they must care. Money does after all imply love.
You think that pharmaceutical companies are acting in your best interest? They are acting in the interest of making lots of money. You think that there is integrity in testing new drugs? There is only potential profits and potential liabilities. Integrity and honesty costs a lot of money. You think the watchdog organisations are effectively controlling the quality and integrity of drugs? These organisations are funded by pharmaceutical companies. You think that your government is going to go up against the pharmaceutical companies? The governments are funded by pharmaceutical companies. Politicians are funded by pharmaceutical companies. How do you think we got to the point where drugs that have such horrendous side effects are actually legal. Governments create the environment for this abuse to exist. Everyone is looking after their own interests - people in government, people in the private sector, the consumers - there is a policy of "don't ask, don't tell" or else your own dirty laundry might be aired. Everyone keeps quiet for their own sake, because they dread having their own secrets exposed.
So no one calls out the abusers, because everyone is an abuser in some way or another. We find abuse to be acceptable because then we are allowed to be abusers as well. Maybe I am speaking in extreme terms - but the condition of life on Earth is extreme. We allow things like pharmaceutical companies to continue being dishonest and functioning without honour or respect for life, without question. We do not question the conditions we so readily accept as being immutable. We simply do not question - we just accept. Poverty? Oh, it is a fact of life. Economic segregation? A fact of life. Murder? Life. Neglect? Sad, but a part of life. Dishonesty? It's in our nature.
Well. This attitude has not brought much happiness to our lives. Maybe it's time for a change of view.