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Drug Firms Hiding Negative Research are Unfit to Experiment on People

One of the most revealing documents from a drug company emerged during a trial over the schizophrenia drug Seroquel.  An email from John Tumas, publications manager at AstraZeneca, said: "There has been a precedent set regarding 'cherry picking' of data ... the recent ... presentations of cognitive function data from trial 15 (one of the buried trials)".

Cherry picking is when a company ignores any data it doesn’t like.  In trial 15, patients with schizophrenia who were in remission were randomly assigned to receive either Seroquel, or a cheap, old-fashioned drug. After a year, the patients on Seroquel were doing worse. These negative findings were left unpublished.

Writing in the Guardian, Ben Goldacre argues:

“The pharmaceutical industry's behavior has collapsed into farce ... I can't see why any company withholding data should be allowed to conduct further experiments on people. I can't see why the state doesn't impose crippling fines.”

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