Editor's Corner

It's far too early to tell just how damaging the new report about GlaxoSmithKline (below) will be to the industry. The BBC is reporting that the company distorted data in an attempt to gain an approval for Seroxat to treat depression in children. Whether or not the report holds up under scrutiny, the news once again raises questions about the way trial data is reported, the independence of the investigators involved and the ability to mask potentially harmful outcomes. The industry has yet to agree to an effective way to ensure that all relevant trial data is made public and that it maintains an arm's length relationship with researchers. But it's clear that the time for that is long past due. A more honest approach is essential to regaining the public's trust, which will only come with independent verification. Yes, some therapies may be held up to additional scrutiny and may lose access to some markets. But that's a small price compared to the widespread belief that all drug companies put profits ahead of patients. The emphasis is still on finding an approach that will just satisfy demand for change. What's needed is a commitment to high standards, regardless of the commercial impact. - John Carroll