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Drug Company Trade Group Pays Patient Groups to Oppose Drug Testing Transparency

A trade group representing the drug industry is behind fake grass roots efforts to oppose plans to force drug companies to publish secret documents about clinical drug trials.

According to The Guardian, the smoking gun is a leaked email from Richard Bergstrom, director general of European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, or EFPIA, to executives and lawyers at Roche, Merck, Pfizer, GSK, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis and many smaller drug companies.

The email outlines a campaign that uses fear-mongering to scare people if clinical trial information goes public.

Bergstrom advocates “[mobilizing] patient groups to express concern about the risk to public health by non-scientific reuse of data."

Currently, multibillion dollar drugs companies reveal only a fraction of their clinical trial results and keep most information about drug trials hidden.

Fake grassroots patient groups, which receive their funding from drug companies, fight for the corporations to give the false impression that the average patient supports the hiding of drug trial facts.

The fake lobbying is targeted against European Medicines Agency, or EMA, which wants to publish all of the clinical study reports of drug companies.

If drug companies published all of their clinical trials information, then independent scientists could reanalyze their results, which the drug companies do not want.

“It underlines the fact that patient groups who are in the pay of the pharmaceutical industry will go into battle for them," said Tim Reed, of Health Action International, which exposes the drug industry’s financial links with paid patient groups. "There’s a hidden agenda here. The patient groups will say they think it’s a great idea to keep clinical trials data secret. Why would they do that? They would do that because they are fronts for the pharmaceutical industry. Patient groups get traction because they are assumed to represent the voice of the suffering. But industry uses them to say we’re not going to get innovative medicines if the industry is deterred from investing by having to be transparent about their clinical trials."

Source: The Guardian


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