Opening drug company data

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on February 5, 2014 - 22:31

It is being billed as “stunning” win for open science--Johnson and Johnson's announcement that the company will release anonymized clinical trial data... to anyone who wants it.

Well, actually the Open Data Access Project (YODA) at the Yale School of Medicine will review requests from physicians  (not clear from reports if non-physician researchers are eligible, but it would make sense that they be) for data from trials of J&J products. To start off, this will include just pharmaceuticals but the plan is to include devices and other products made by J&J. When requests are approved by YODA the physician will provide raw and anonymized data including results for each patient involved in a study. 

It all sounds very positive. It seems that companies are increasingly realizing not just the great optics of being involved in open access initiatives, but also that the advantages of crowd-sourcing research may in fact be greater than what they have to lose by letting go their vice-grip on information. Not sure what this might mean in the long-run for non-company-led research. 

For now, though, it sounds like a great thing, and it will be worth keeping an eye out in the coming years to see what use researchers make of this data.



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