Nam Y Huh  /  AP
The American Medical Association is calling for for a public drug database to list all pharmaceutical studies and trials. Seen here is Dr. J. Edward Hill, from Tupelo, Miss., president-elect of the medical group, answering questions at a news conference.
updated 6/17/2004 4:21:11 PM ET 2004-06-17T20:21:11

The American Medical Association called on the government Tuesday to establish a public registry for all drug study results — even research funded by pharmaceutical companies that reflects poorly on their products.

The resolution stems from concern that drug company-funded submissions to medical journals usually show only positive results. The revelation that some unpublished data linked some antidepressants with suicidal behavior in children added to the debate.

The AMA called for the Department of Health and Human Services to establish the registry and either publish it or make it available over the Internet. Bill Pierce, a spokesman for the department, said he could not comment because the department had not yet received the proposal.

Public database for results
Alan Goldhammer of the industry group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said last week that a public research registry could lead to misinterpretation, especially if it lacked specifics including details on study size.

But Dr. John Schneider, an Illinois internist, said the registry would clearly state if the study included raw data or had not been peer reviewed.

“The problem is that there is information that just disappears,” he said. “There’s no point in doing trials if the information is going to be thrown away.”

Dr. David Fassler, a Vermont psychiatrist who supported the measure, noted a report Tuesday that a group of top medical journals is considering requiring drug makers — if they want their results to be considered for later publication — to register clinical trials in a public database at the study’s start. The development was reported by The New York Times, citing anonymous sources.

“I think over the next couple of years, we’re going to see physicians, patients and researchers will have much better access to this information. And in the long run, that’s going to increase the quality of patient care,” Fassler said.

The resolution was adopted without discussion.

Other issues
In other action, the AMA also voiced its support for legislation allowing the adoption of a child by a partner in a gay couple or in an unmarried heterosexual relationship, and it voted to convey to the Bush administration its concern over the recent issuing of subpoenas of abortion records.

The AMA also followed up on an informational session held Monday about physicians tackling the nation’s obesity epidemic by addressing their own weight problems. Doctors were given a chart to determine whether they are considered overweight.

The survey revealed that 140 delegates were in a normal weight range, 202 were overweight, and another 82 were obese.

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