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  • Clinical Trials

    Primum Non Nocere, Eh?

    The placebo effect is a real problem in some clinical trials. It varies, but in things like antidepressants it’s a major factor (while with, say, pancreatic cancer it doesn’t change the results too much.) In a given sample of depressed patients, there are a fair number of people (20 or thirty percent) who will respond… Read More
  • The Scientific Literature

    Le Dernier Cri

    Mentioning all the nanostructure papers in the journals brings up the topic of fashions in chemistry. We’ve got ’em, all right. Waves like this tend to wash over the literature every few years. (I can only speak for organic chemistry, but I assume that it’s the same in the other disciplines.) For example, only in… Read More
  • Drug Prices

    You’d Think It Was An Election Year or Something

    There are several Canadian drug reimportation bills floating around in the House and Senate, and it’s anyone’s guess whether one of them will come up for a vote this session. The AARP has just weighed in in favor of S. 2328, sponsored by Bill Dorgan and Olympia Snowe – and if you’re an elected official… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    The Dull Edge of Nanotech

    There’s a type of paper that’s showing up often in the major chemistry journals these days, and it’s a type that didn’t even exist a few years ago. I can’t count the number of reports of nanometer-sized structures that have been described recently. Rods, filaments, sheets, cylinders, shells – you name it and some… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    The Journals Fight Back

    So it turns out that the major medical journals have their own plan for bringing on a clinical trial database: they’re going to require companies to register trials before they’ll allow publication of their results. I was taken aback at not having heard anything about this idea, until I saw that no one else in… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Wipe Down

    Family activities prohibit much blogging tonight, but I wanted to bring up a couple of other issues about secrecy in the drug business. One effect of all the proprietary information running around inside our buildings is that it’s rather unusual to have someone from a rival drug firm visit another one. If they do, then… Read More
  • Drug Industry History

    Dumpster Diving for Data?

    A comment to the last post wondered if drug companies ever do active intelligence against each other (as opposed to the passive kinds I mentioned). Active means would be rooting through dumpsters and the like, and the answer is – almost invariably – no. That sort of thing is more trouble than it’s worth, because… Read More
  • The Scientific Literature

    The Agents Report Back

    Now that ASCO’s wrapped up (and the American Diabetes Association meeting as well) every attendee from the drug industry has gone back to report on the news: copies of poster presentations, handwritten notes from the talks, and (most importantly) information that was only given verbally. That would be in answers to questions after a talk… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Your One-Stop Clinical Data Superstore?

    There have been plans, over the years, for some sort of data repository for clinical trials. Nothing’s ever worked out. The only place that all of this is collected is at the FDA, and they only have the ones that companies have submitted because they were requesting a new approval or a new indication. If… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Cue the Music

    New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has found what must look like another target-rich environment: the pharmaceutical industry. As many readers will have seen, he’s initiated a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline for their handling of clinical trial data for the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine). As far as anyone can tell, this suit is the fi… Read More
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