The Secret Things Belong Unto the Lord Our God: Secrecy in the Pharmaceutical Arena
Medicine and Law: The World Association for Medical Law 2007 September; 26(3): 417-430
Secrecy in the pharmaceutical arena has taken on more importance in the recent past as the pharmaceutical industry has assumed greater prominence in the funding of clinical research and has also become a funder of the agencies that are charged with regulating it. Governments have adopted a neo-liberal agenda that prioritizes private profit over public health and are therefore willing to let industry set the research agenda. As a result, secrecy, to protect intellectual property rights, is a major feature of clinical research. Secrecy also leads to biases in the published literature that conceal significant safety problems. Because regulators are now partially dependent on the pharmaceutical industry for their existence regulators are unwilling to challenge industry. By treating data on efficacy and safety as commercially confidential information they effectively collude with industry in denying health professionals and the public access to essential information to be able to use drugs appropriately.
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