by Christina Sarich, Natural Society:
New research shows a 43% increase in clinical trials funded by drug companies during 2006-2014. Can you say “conflict of interest?”
Concerns have been expressed over the past few years about the independence of clinical trials, due to the funding of some trials by corporations with vested interests. New data from Johns Hopkins University suggests that this is now the norm rather than the exception. The clinical trials that allow a drug to go to market are most often funded by the pharmaceutical industry.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates clinical trials of safety and efficacy for all drugs intended for sale to Americans. Current regulations require that trials start with testing on laboratory animals and culminate with tests on human subjects.
The problem is that – with millions and sometimes billions of dollars at stake – there’s no requirement for these tests to be done by a third party. The drug industry is basically ‘policing itself.’
Clinical trials funded directly by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) are considered independent. However, a large proportion of trials done by the NIH are now funded by major pharmaceutical corporations. The Johns Hopkins report indicates that the number of independent NIH trials has fallen and the number of pharma-funded NIH trials has risen each year since 2006.
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