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The lessons of Study 329: How fraud in psychiatric drug research got normalised

Robert B Whitaker

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2020.087


Abstract

Study 329, which was a trial of paroxetine for depression in adolescents, is often held up as the poster child for fraud in clinical trials of psychiatric drugs. A 2001 article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) (1) told of a drug that was safe and effective for treating adolescent depression. It subsequently became known that SmithKline Beecham’s own medical review team had concluded in 1998 that the drug had failed to show efficacy. Working with a ghostwriting firm, the company—which by 2001 had morphed into GlaxoSmithKline—spun the results in the published article, and hid evidence of an increased risk of suicide in the paroxetine group.

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