Thanks to the American Association of Health Care Journalists for this useful lead.
The Drug Industry Document Archive contains over 2500 documents about pharmaceutical industry clinical trials, publication of study results, pricing, marketing, relations with physicians and involvement in continuing medical education. It is a publically accessible web site hosted by the University of California, San Francisco Library and Center for Knowledge Management
Most of these previously secret documents were made public as a result of lawsuits against the following pharmaceutical companies: Merck & Co., Parke-Davis, Warner-Lambert, Wyeth, and Pfizer.
It contains documents about:
- internal pharmaceutical industry documents (memos, letters, reports, scientific research, etc.)
- correspondence between drug companies and physicians, researchers, continuing medical education companies, PR firms and universities
- regulatory and legal documents, depositions and expert reports
The site is likely to be useful for researchers, journalists, lawyers, public policy makers, consumer advocates and the general public.
The documents come from lawyers representing people who file law suits against drug companies and Congressional committees investigating the pharmaceutical industry.
Some of the history: As expert witnesses for a whistle-blower lawsuit about the off-label marketing of neurontin two UCSF physician researchers, Seth Landefeld and Michael Steinman, reviewed many internal corporate documents obtained from Parke-Davis.
They knew how valuable UCSF’s Legacy Tobacco Documents Library was for tobacco control researchers and advocates and wanted to set up a comparable digital library about the pharmaceutical industry. In 2005, with a gift from attorney Thomas Greene, who represented the plaintiff in the case, and the donation of documents produced for it, DIDA was created.
There are plans to extend the database further.
The American Association of Health Care Journalists lists some of the media articles that have already been generated as a result of the site.
The power of the web is changing journalism in more than the obvious ways, it seems. This article raises some related themes, including the potential benefits that might flow from journalists hooking up with the techno-savvy.