Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Depressing research

Publication year
2004
Author(s)
Roth, D.; Boyle, E.; Beer, D.; Malik, A.; deBruyn, J.
Pages
2087
Volume
363
Number
9426

Suppression of the publication of negative trials of serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) in children (Apr 24, p 1335) is more than just a matter of "confusion, manipulation, and institutional failure". It is a crime. To blandly illustrate its severity, we can analogise the situation as follows: would you be concerned if a colleague prescribed penicillin to a child who had an uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection of viral aetiology? Would you be more concerned if you heard that this child had a serious anaphylactic reaction to the penicillin at home? And how much more concerned would you be if you found out that the prescribing doctor was previously aware of the child’s severe penicillin allergy? The latter scenario could be deemed malpractice. How, then, is it acceptable for pharmaceutical companies to suppress publication of SSRI studies that showed a lack of efficacy and an increased risk of serious adverse events in the children and adolescents in experimental trial groups (other than for fluoxetine)? Intentional concealment of these data, an accusation for which there is already public evidence, must be considered a form of corporate violence.

Research abstracts