Medical Journals Need to Take the GSK Cue

J0390519 This happened last week and didn’t get much coverage, but I find it fascinating.  GlaxoSmithKline announced that it became the first drug company to make public detailed summaries of its clinical trials available on the Internet.  With a simple click of your mouse, you can access the summaries.  This is what the Internet is all about. 

But perhaps it is also what 21st Century medicine is about.  Frankly, if the world waits for the lengthy publication process of peer reviewed journals, we will find emerging pathogens taking over the planet.  Seriously, as we mark the 25th anniversary of HIV cases, it should give us pause to consider all of the other emerging pathogens that have emerged as threats since the first reported AIDS case and consider the speed with which they develop. 

While there have been legislative reforms to allow the FDA to accelerate or fast track some drug approvals, the wheels may not be greased enough.  What’s more, and all of the expectation for accomplishing faster medicine shouldn’t fall on FDA shoulders or even those of the distracted Congress.  That is one of the lessons of the GSK effort. 

According to the GSK press release:

“The initiative to make healthcare information more widely available is growing as more pharmaceutical companies create results databases. It will progress further if not only more companies but also academic and government sponsors create public databases of the results of their research into various medical interventions.”

Transparency is everyone’s responsibility and other companies should be encouraged to put results of clinical trials for all to see.  Emerging pathogens don’t need peer reviewed journals.  They only need time. 

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