Why All Pharmaceutical Research Should Be Made Open Access

Cory Doctorow | The Guardian | November 20, 2012

The government wants to make all publicly funded research available – but the same must be demanded of pharmas also

...We'd been talking about Ben Goldacre's excellent new book, Bad Pharma, in which Goldacre documents the problem of "missing data" in pharmaceutical research (he says about half of the clinical trials undertaken by the pharmaceutical industry are never published). The unpublished trials are, of course, the trials that show the pharma companies' new products in unflattering lights – trials that suggest that their drugs don't work very well, or don't work at all, or are actively harmful.

The decades-old industry practice of suppressing scientific evidence (and some independent researchers doing the same) leads Goldacre to declare that nothing we know about modern medicine should be assumed to be correct, and he makes the urgent case for forcing the release of all that pharma dark matter so scientists can re-run the numbers and work out what actually does work.

I mentioned this to my lunchmate, finishing with: "And that's why all pharma research must be open access." "All publicly funded pharma research," he said, as though correcting a mistake in elementary arithmetic. "If the public pays for it, they should see it, but if pharmaceutical companies want to pay for their own research, well …"