Contention over the "pharma free" expert list.
Yesterday, I briefly wrote about a list of doctors who haven't taken money from pharmaceuticals. I pointed out that Beck and Herrmann (two pharmaceutical defense lawyers) along with Ted Frank were combing the list to see which experts had served as expert witnesses for plaintiffs. It's starting to get testy. The publishers of the list posted the following at Beck & Herrmann's blog:
Our experts who have served as witnesses disclose on the list, and we make that information available to the journalists who have requested the list. For example, Dr. Glenmullen discloses his work as an expert witness in product liability cases.
Some of the experts on the list have served as witnesses in order to have access to data they would not be able to get any other way.
By Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, at 7:38 PM
Ted, Beck, and Herrmann then proceed to lay into Brownlee and Lenzer. You can read their comments for yourself and determine whether they have merit.
I do want to point out something about what Brownlee and Lenzer said: "Some of the experts on the list have served as witnesses in order to have access to data they would not be able to get any other way." The data in question is information about drug safety, much of which that pharmaceuticals haven't disclosed to the FDA.
What does Ted have to say about information that isn't voluntarily disclosed?
"Students of game theory know what the refusal to disclose to skeptical sources indicates about the quality of the hidden information; the refusal tells you you can safely assume the worst..."
If pharmaceuticals would voluntarily disclose this safety information, it would be much easier to compile a list of experts qualified to speak about drug safety who haven't served as expert witnesses. From now on, whenever a pharmaceutical refuses to voluntarily disclose study results or other safety information, I'll "safely assume the worst" about the drug.