Last year we noted that some large-scale trials of drugs in general practice seemed to have more to do with promotion than with science,1 and in June Mike Thomas MP introduced a Private Member’s Bill to discourage trials that are largely promotional.2 We therefore welcome the recent announcement by the Minister of Health that the DHSS intends to draw up a voluntary code of practice for clinical trials conducted after a drug has been marketed. Various interested bodies will be consulted, including the RCGP, the BMA and the ABPI.3 While the rules are being worked out, manufacturers planning trials and doctors asked to take part in them will no doubt consider the ethical and scientific aspects with special care.
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