Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Actonel Saga Continues

Dr. Aubrey Blumsohn continues his battle with Procter & Gamble. The short story is that Procter & Gamble appears to have cooked the data regarding its osteoporosis drug Actonel. Blumsohn was one of the authors on the Actonel work and when he made the audacious move to ask if he could see the data upon which his study was based, his request was rejected on multiple occasions. The documentation on his site is in-depth and if you have time to look around, I believe you will come to the conclusion, like Blumsohn did, that P & G indeed screwed with the data, which was one good reason for P & G to hide the data from the academics who are listed as the study authors.

Blumsohn is seeking to publicize the actual study data, yet P & G continues to play games. They are sticking with their line that the data are "proprietary," meaning that they want to stand by their apparently fraudulent analyses of the data and keep Blumsohn from re-analyzing the data for presentation and/or publication.

Please see his latest post and just dig around on his site for a while. You'll be amazed. If only all academics who were under the employ of drug companies kept such thorough documentation and were willing to take a stand.

Instead, we have many academics such as Graham Emslie, who openly admits that he withheld study data because it was negative to a sponsor. In a sense, I view Emslie somewhat positively for having the courage to say something. However, his remarks came after he sat on the negative data for years and there was no damage to be done since the sponsor, under intense pressure, appears to have released the previously suppressed data.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it's one thing for an academic to conduct studies and not disclose the information. If I was an academic physician, I'd have no problem investigating whether a product helped patients with a particular ailment, and no problem not disclosing that I hadn't found any benefit. After all, in a perfect world, pharma companies would try and identify everyone who would benefit from their products.

Graham Emslie, however, has done something entirely different. He's found that a product is pretty much useless, and then gone on to affix his name to findings that oblige the taxpayer to purchase these (sometimes useless) products.

There were compelling legal reasons why he couldn't disclose proprietary information. There also were compelling ethical reasons why he should never have lent his now tarnished name to findings that he knew to be flawed. This smells much less of a Come to Jesus Epiphany than of a modified limited hangout.

Perhaps it is touching to see that not only monkeys stand by their organ grinders. (Pun intended.)