Glaxo Buys Open Science

Glaxo Buys Open Science. Patents Sharing. Promises Full Access. In a surprise move, drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced a secret takeover of Open Science Federation for a purchase price rumored to be almost $500,000 USD. GSK CEO, Sir Andrew Witty, said that the takeover was part of a strategic response by the company to release all its clinical trial data. With questioning, Witty admitted that he, and the company’s board of directors, were initially resistant to the suggestion they should “open the kimono”, and show their jewels. However, with many voices calling for openness, and wincing from  a $3 billion USD fine for illegally promoting antidepressants to children, the company decided to look at the idea of openness more closely.“When we realized how little money there was in Open Science ... well, that was when the light went on.” Within the company, the Open Science take-over was pitched as the perfect, cost-effective, solution to their current woes. By buying the whole kit and caboodle, GSK could refurbish its image as a good corporate citizen, prop up its sagging stock price, and most importantly find a way to meet the public demands for the sharing of its data, without sharing anything at all. “Open Science is perfect for GSK. But we’re bringing something to the table too. Our patented Sharing Information Technology System (ShITs), will completely turn things upside down in the open science community.

Illustration for Dr. David Healy‘s post about the vagaries of diving, fishing and looking for real data in the murky world medicine and pharmaceuticals.

See: April Fool in Harlow: Anecdote Fishing in Harlow

And sure, this is an “April Fool’s” thing, but it’s actually based on some truth… If you want to find out more about the GSK approach to “Open Science” and the “sharing” of research data, you can actually sign up for the GSK Clinical Study data program. Once you’ve signed off off on their legal stuff (caveat emptor), you can request access to their trial data. Currently they have about 220 trials listed… a extremely small fraction of the total trials they’ve done. Your request will be reviewed by independent panel who will decide whether or not you can actually see the data. No promises of course! But why don’t you give it a try… I’ve signed up! 😉


Posters: OpenGSK.pdf, OpenGSK.jpg or OpenGSK.png.

Building a grassroots database to send a message to Big Pharma

Do any of your family or friends suffer from prescription drug side effects? If so, this is a website that you’ll want to know about and share. The James Gang got involved in sending a message to Big Pharma through a personal connection. Friends of ours, whose son died due to prescription drug side effects, contacted us to help with this important cause. Julie and Peter Wood, along with psychiatrist and Pharmageddon author Dr. David Healy, are profiled in the Globe and Mail: Drug-risk website aimed at consumers.

“A high-profile critic of Big Pharma and a Toronto couple are building a grassroots database to gather information about side effects” Globe and Mail

We are working with Dr. David Healy, Dr. Nancy Olivieri, many other medical professionals, and patient advocates like Julie and Peter Wood, to build a database of real-world, patient-reported, drug side effects. This grassroots data will be used to provide the full picture on prescription drug side effects. Most of us believe that Rx drugs are fully tested, and pronounced safe, before being sold. However the determination of what is “safe” is currently skewed by clinical trials. The trials are controlled by pharmaceutical companies whose objective is to sell as much product as possible. To do this they promote the benefits and minimize the dangers of their medications. Drug side effects which are not listed as “known side effects” are often dismissed by both the drug companies and doctors.

To counter this distortion, will collect patient data on drug side effects, publish the data publicly, and provide a free report to patients to take to their doctors. The big bonus for patients, is that once this medical data is published, the drug companies are obligated to acknowledge the negative side effects exist.

“In designing, we recognized the powerful opportunity we had to combine grassroots activism, social media, and storytelling to deliver a message to Big Pharma they couldn’t ignore. We decided to use Skype, and other video-conferencing software, to interview patients around the world — and ask them to tell us their true-life stories about drug side effects and the impact its had on their lives.” Billiam James, Co-founder The James Gang will feature personal stories — Skype interviews — with people around the world who want to share their personal experiences to help raise awareness about dangers of prescription drug side effects. Here is the first published interview with Maria Bradshaw, the co-founder and CEO of CASPER (Community Action on Suicide Prevention Education & Research) in New Zealand.

The site has just been launched in beta-mode with a complete search function listing all medical drug side effects using FDA and Lexi-Comp Data. We are working on the patient reporting function, which will record and save patient-reported side effects. Users will be able to print-out this detailed listing of side effects and share it with their doctor and pharmacist.