Economics and industry do not mean ethical conduct in clinical trials

Joel Lexchin | Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice | NCBI | PubMed Central (PMC) | December 2013

Clinical trials present an ethical dilemma for pharmaceutical companies. While companies may want to undertake and report these trials in an ethical manner, negative results can significantly affect product sales. There is accumulating evidence that company-financed trials are biased in favor of the product that the company makes. Ethical conduct in this article is defined as whether the trials are conducted in the best interests of the participants and/or reported in the best interests of patients. Nine examples of how clinical trials are violating multiple articles in the Declaration of Helsinki are discussed using concrete case reports from the literature. The recognition of ethical problems in company run trials is not something new, but to date no meaningful action has been taken to resolve this issue. What is necessary is to separate the financing of clinical trials from their conduct.

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