In the latest Annals of Internal Medicine, and in-depth analysis of a seeding trial involving Vioxx (ADVANTAGE) revealed some very disturbing information. This document, obtained by the study’s authors, is one of many that shows how this study was not done in the name of testing the medication (later withdrawn for safety concerns), but as a giant marketing ploy.
The authors of the article specifically mention three problems with seeding trials that makes them “harmful to science and society”:
Full informed consent is impossible, as the participants are not aware of the full purpose of the trial (as a marketing tool).
Good research design is compromised for marketing goals. Spreading the study over as many practitioners as possible is good for business, but maybe not so good for research quality control.
The study may be scientifically irrelevant. A more definitive study of Vioxx was being done simultaneously with the ADVANTAGE trial, rendering ADVANTAGE moot.
Go read them