You are here

Cancer drugs study "flawed"

Cancer drugs study
30th August 2007

A leading British epidemiologist has criticised a Swedish study of access to cancer drugs across Europe.

In May of this year, a report by Dr Nils Wilking argued that some countries were better at making new drugs available quickly and therefore had better rates of cancer survival.

Professor Michel Coleman has claimed that the report used a flawed methodology and suggested its findings may have been influenced by the vested interest of the drugs company funding the research.

The professor, who works at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, alleges that the report breaks with established medical convention, making "speculative" comparisons between vastly different study groups and ignoring the fact that survival rates are affected by a range of factors.

Roche Pharmaceuticals funded the research.

Professor Coleman remarked: "I'm sure the authors carried out this research with the best intentions, but it would be naive to imagine that the source of funding would not have some influence on the question tackled.

"This is not blue-skies research but invited research, designed to answer a question that is unlikely to be of much interest to a scientist but is obviously of interest to a company established to generate returns to its shareholders."