At present the pharmaceutical companies are responsible for testing the effectiveness and safety of their own products. In recent years there have been numerous reports of dishonest practices in this area, including suppression of unfavorable results and massaging of data to create the impression that a drug is more effective than is actually the case.
Recently, Christopher Lane publicized a particularly egregious example of this from England.
The drug at the center of this scandal is reboxetine. It is not available in the US, but is widely prescribed in the UK and in sixty other countries for depression, panic disorder, and ADHD.
Apparently seven trials were conducted on this drug. Only one showed a positive result, and only this one was published. The other six trials showed that reboxetine was no better than a sugar pill.
This kind of suppression of evidence and subsequent exaggeration of a product’s effectiveness apparently is not illegal, either in the UK or the US.
Business as usual.