What does "FDA approved" really mean - and how can we make sure that the medicine we take is more helpful than harmful? How do we know that a new drug is better than an older, less expensive drug?
Drug companies do trials, and each company's trials might show that its drug is best. After approval, drug trial results are expected to appear in peer-reviewed journals, reporting all outcomes.
In a study of papers published for trials from 2001 and 2002, it was found that many results were still not published five years after FDA approval.
Bero discusses the implications of incomplete and biased information in medical journals for drug use in the United States.
Lisa A. Bero is a Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy and Institute for Health Policy Studies, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Bero is a pharmacologist with primary interests in how clinical and basic sciences are translated into clinical practice and health policy. She has developed and validated methods for assessing the quality of research and scientific publication and measures influences on the quality of research, including university-industry relations.
Dr. Bero has also conducted analyses to examine the dissemination and policy implications of scientific publications. She has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles related to her research as well as co-authored The Cigarette Papers (UC Press, 1996).
Her international activities include: advisor to the World Health Organization Drug Action Programme, advisor to the World Bank, member of the editorial board of the British Medical Journal, Co-Director of the San Francisco Cochrane Center, member of the Steering Group of The Cochrane Collaboration, and editor for the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organization of Care Group -- an international group of researchers conducting meta-analyses of the literature on interventions to change health professional behavior. She serves on several national and international committees related to technology assessment.