Stopping clinical trials early

I see the drug companies are coming under fire again, this time for stopping clinical trials of anti-cancer drugs early, because of encouraging signs of benefits.  They have  the bare-faced audacity to claim that their motivation is to get approval as fast as possible – based on short-term effects only – in order to get the drugs to patients without delay.  Even if that were their true motive, it is no excuse for haste in the process of studying real outcomes, which is simply unscientific to the point of being reckless.

But we know, don’t we, that this is not their real motivation. This is an established strategy, they did the same thing with NRT, which was originally passed on the basis of its performance at six weeks!  The fact is, anything that looks like some sort of success is being passed off as the real outcome, in a way that shows a contemptuous disregard for the whole business of approval.  The medical approval bodies are approving drugs on the thinnest of evidence of efficacy, and inadequate evidence of safety. It is dangerous.

The whole system needs to be scrapped, and replaced with an independent academic system that performs real medical trials that take into account all findings, long term results and side-effects, before any medication can be passed as safe and effective.  The current system is corrupt, disreputable and a danger to the public.

the book