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Lawmaker Seeks Release of Antidepressant Data

Feb 5, 2004 | The Star-Ledger

A congressional lawmaker wants four big drug makers to provide unpublished clinical trial data about their antidepressant pills.

U.S. Rep. James Greenwood (R-Pa.), who chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, wrote a letter to the companies "in light of protecting the public health of children and the need to expedite public and physician confidence."

He acted following a controversial meeting held earlier this week to review charges the antidepressants, which are also known as SSRIs, may be linked to an increased risk of suicide in children less than 18 years old.

The letters were sent to Wyeth, which sells Effexor; Pfizer, which makes Zoloft; GlaxoSmithKline, which markets Paxil, and Eli Lilly, maker of Prozac.

Drug makers are not required to release data that is not published in medical journals, which industry critics say allows negative findings to remain suppressed. In particular, makers of the antidepressants were criticized for not releasing such information.

In his letter, Greenwood noted "critics and even some supporters of antidepressants for children want clinical trial information put in the public domain."

In a telephone interview, U.S. Rep. Michael Ferguson (R-7th Dist.) said the studies "may have some bearing" on the suicide debate. He added

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