LONDON — The global pharmaceutical industry launched a website Wednesday that gives details of clinical trials on new medicines in a bid to allay patient fears over drug safety.
The move follows criticism that companies manipulate or suppress results of clinical studies to come up with favorable conclusions.
The new website (www.ifpma.org/clinicaltrials), established by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Assns., links available online information about clinical trials worldwide.
Drug makers -- including some that have voluntarily launched their own databases -- hope the project will head off legislation in the wake of scandals over Merck & Co.'s pain drug Vioxx and the use of antidepressants in adolescents.
The site will carry detailed information about most new clinical trials, but companies have the option to withhold some information.
There is no obligation to reveal the results of studies before a drug is approved.
The site has the backing of such major pharmaceutical companies as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca, Merck & Co. and Sanofi-Aventis.