Goodbye PubMed, hello raw data
The editor of BMJ writes about the H1N1 influenza epidemic in the last year and discusses about the effectiveness of antivirals and the drug oseltamivir. She quotes another BMJ article (BMJ 2011; 342:c7258) where the authors Jefferson and Doshi, who were reviewers of a Cochrane review on the same topic, were unable to get the data from the trial that they covered they needed to validate their conclusion about the efficacy of the antiviral. She goes on to explain that these reviewers while compiling a list of trials located a large trial which was not covered in the regulatory documents! The editor emphasizes the reviewer’s comments – that if trial reports are incomplete (and many seem to be!), then reviewers need to have all access to raw trial data.
QMedKF’s comment: Has getting credible information really got easier with the Internet? We only seem to be uncovering more lacunae!
Appeared in QMedCONNECT Vol 4, Issue 1, Jan 2011