english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > Archives : 2016 > Prescrire's Information Awards for 2015: a handful of drug companies are honoured, amidst a general lack of transparency

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Prescrire's Information Awards for 2015: a handful of drug companies are honoured, amidst a general lack of transparency

Prescrire Information AwardsA company's transparency, part and parcel of its credibility, is an essential component of drug safety. The 2015 Information Awards by non-profit French medical journal Prescrire reveal another year marked by a lack of transparency on the part of drug companies.

Prescrire's analyses of new drugs are based upon a far-reaching literature search bringing together all the evaluation data, including data from clinical trials.

For each drug analysed, Prescrire examines sources which include the international biomedical literature, journals independent of the pharmaceutical industry, and information requested from drug regulatory agencies.

Prescrire also requests information from the relevant pharmaceutical company (or companies), especially to obtain whatever unpublished data they may possess.

Prescrire's Information Awards reflect the quality and timeliness of the information that companies provided for the drugs reviewed in the French journal La revue Prescrire over the preceding year.

By and large, drug companies provide or confirm a great deal of information for Prescrire. Some companies respond to Prescrire's requests in a reasonable amount of time and provide detailed and relevant documentation, especially unpublished data. These companies have earned their place on Prescrire's Honours List (5 companies were listed for 2015). Amongst these companies, the ones who informed Prescrire promptly, sometimes spontaneously, supplying data that were especially useful, thorough or detailed, were deemed "Outstanding" (2 citations for 2015).

Other companies do not live up to their responsibilities. They either do not answer, or do not answer often enough, or answer too irregularly in response to Prescrire's requests for information. Some respond late and do not supply usable data. Others leave out the most relevant data. When such failures accumulate, companies are singled out with a "Red Card" (9 in 2015).

Yet transparency is the sign of a responsible company, committed to reinforcing patient safety by concealing nothing in its drugs' clinical evaluation data, including their limitations.

©Prescrire 1 February 2016

"The Prescrire Awards 2015" Prescrire Int 2016: 25 (169) 78-81. (pdf, free)

Download the full review
Pdf, free

The Prescrire
Awards for 2015
(February 2016)