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Damning new evidence of pharma deceit

“Our review of combined published and unpublished data for paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine, and citalopram suggest that these SSRIs are not efficacious in this context (treating depression in children). Moreover, a possible increased risk of suicidal ideation, serious adverse events, or both, although small, cannot be ignored.”

That was the verdict of report published in the Lancet which reveals comprehensive evidence of pharmaceutical companies failing to make public drug trial results, which show their products in less than favourable light. Earlier this year, this practice was exposed when an internal document from GlaxoSmithKline, revealed that data demonstrating the ineffectiveness of Seroxat in treating depression in children was not passed to regulators because it would undermine the profile of the drug.

The study, an analysis of published and unpublished data of trials of SSRIs in treating children with depression, reveals a staggering manipulation of data. Unpublished trials were found to contain data which show the drugs to be either ineffective or even dangerous. Urgent reform to force the publication of all trials is needed.

The full report ‘Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in childhood depression: systematic review of published versus unpublished data’ by Craig J Whittington, Tim Kendall, Peter Fonagy, David Cottrell, Andrew Cotgrove, Ellen Boddington can be found at www.thelancet.com.