Friday, March 23, 2012

Silent takedown of the pharma trials database…and more

Those of you with more than a passing interest in publication bias and other threats to the integrity of the research literature may have noticed the publication of a study in this week’s PLoS Medicine which looks at the effects of such bias on apparent efficacy of antipsychotic drugs. While the article was in press at PLoS Medicine the lead author, Erick Turner, noticed that a database, initially set up by PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) to “serve the valuable function of making clinical trial results for many marketed pharmaceuticals more transparent….” had mysteriously disappeared from the internet – thank you for the hat tip to Erick. (The authors had included this database, amongst others, to try to identify all trials conducted on the antipsychotics they investigate in their analysis). Cynical readers can view an example of what the database used to look like at this page through the Internet Archive – the database used to be present at

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