The Editor in Chief of the BMJ, Dr Fiona Godlee, said in response to this debate:

“Instead of engaging in open debate about legitimate and important scientific questions, the manufacturers have been unwilling to share their data. Meanwhile patients and doctors have not been kept properly informed about the uncertainties surrounding these drugs. The debate would be much easier to resolve if all of the information were placed in the public domain so scientists, doctors, and ultimately patients could make up their own minds.”

Also in the BMJ, Edwin Gale, Emeritus Professor of Diabetic Medicine at Bristol, expresses his repeated concern that regulatory procedures governing drug development and marketing are inadequate and contributes to what he calls “shotgun therapies”.

Professor Gale had previously, in a BMJ editorial published on the 27th February 2013, suggested why he thought drug company lawyers and a transparency policy to be unlikely bed partners. It is argued that as companies cannot be held responsible for a safety issue that does not exist then they will not expose a safety risk. Acknowledging a serious concern would open the door to litigation. In order to prevent this possibility an environment of ignorance prevails. This is the environment of seeing no evil, hearing no evil and speaking no evil.

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