Just Say Yes…


To registering all pharmaceutical company clinical trials. Whether or not anti-depressants actually do more harm than good for adolescents is still being debated, but the drug manufacturers might have avoided this controversy if they'd released all the data from all their research trials in the first place.

Now the editors of some of the world's leading scientific journals are requiring that pharmaceutical companies register their drug trials before they will publish research findings based on the trials. The idea is that such registration will lead drug manufacturers to report all data, both good and bad, from clinical trials.

The industry trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PHRMA), just issued new guidelines for the conduct of clinical trials that require that there be "timely communication of meaningful study results, regardless of the outcome of the study." While certainly a step in the right direction, to retain public confidence and to avoid ugly lawsuits, the new PHRMA guidelines are not enough. The industry should embrace the editors' private initiative wholeheartedly before a slow costly bureaucratic system is imposed on them.