Big pharma company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has become the world’s first major drug maker to pledge to publish all its clinical trial data. Campaigners have welcomed GSK’s decision, in the hope that it will increase the likelihood of medical breakthroughs and protect patients from ill-advised prescriptions.
Last year GlaxoSmithKline fell into hot water, when it was accused of ‘tricking and bribing’ doctors into prescribing children harmful anti-depressants; consequently the pharmaceutical giant had to pay a $3 billion settlement.
GSK’s announcement to become more transparent may set a president for other big pharma companies, amid increasing pressure from governing bodies and the media to prevent the manipulation of clinical trial data.
GSK said it will “publish CSRs [clinical study reports] for all of its medicines once they have been approved or discontinued from development and the results have been published.” It is understood that eventually all trial data dating back to the inception of the company in 2000 will be made available to the public.
“We are committed to being transparent with our clinical trial data to help advance scientific understanding and inform medical judgment. All those involved in the conduct and publication of clinical research, whether healthcare companies like GSK, academia or research organisations, have a role to play in ensuring that the data they generate are made publicly available to help bring patient benefit, said Patrick Vallance, GSK's President of Pharmaceutical Research and Development.
GSK's Chief Executive, Sir Andrew Witty, said in a statement last year (video below), which paved the way for the milestone decision, that opening clinical trial data to a wider audience would help find cures for diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis as well help to develop novel antibiotics.
Ben Goldacre, who sparked a public debate about the morals of the drug industry with his book Bad Pharma, told the Guardian he met Witty to discuss his All Trials clinical data campaign. Goldacre said he expected GSK's decision would put “huge pressure” on the world's other big pharmaceutical companies to commit to publishing their own trial data.