One of the initiatives gaining momentum around the world is open data -- the idea that, for example, non-personal data affecting the public should be made freely available. That's partly to improve transparency, so that citizens are more informed about what is happening, and partly to stimulate new kinds of business that build products and services based on that data.
An important category of open data that boosts transparency concerns basic drug safety information. Last month, Techdirt wrote about the AllTrials initiative that seeks to have key information about clinical trials placed in the public domain. As part of a wider move towards greater openness, the European Medicines Agency, the main body that licenses drugs in Europe, is starting to make available information that has hitherto been withheld.
Although doctors and patients are rejoicing at this greater transparency, not everyone is pleased by the move. AbbVie, the pharma company spun out of the Abbott Laboratories at the beginning of this year, for example, is taking legal action to stop it:
AbbVie, a pharmaceutical company has sought an injunction to block Europe's medicines regulator from releasing "confidential" and "commercially-sensitive" information on its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug, a spokeswoman for the U.S. drugmaker confirmed on Sunday.
The Chicago-based company had taken legal action against the European Medicines Agency to stop it from releasing data on the effects in individual patients in clinical trials for its drug Humira, the Financial Times reported earlier on Sunday.
Except, of course, this isn't "confidential" and "commercially-sensitive" information: it's just basic data about its safety and efficacy. Doctors and patients surely have a right to know this before using products that could potentially have serious, even fatal, side-effects.
more here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130315/04370222337/giant-pharma-company-claims-releasing-data-drug-safety-is-illegal-as-its-confidential-commercially-sensitive.shtml