The role of transparency in business has long been presented as a glowing ‘everyone wins,’ situation. However, despite the seemingly limitless benefits to publishing huge amounts of research, I firmly believe that there are some clear disadvantages to this type of fishbowl transparency.
When you publish data from businesses you make this information available to two major interests. The argument that you are doing it for the general public, despite appealing to the general population on an emotional level, is really pretty redundant. Most data published from the pharmaceutical industry is well in excess of 6000 pages, no normal person has the time, nor would they want to, read all of that information.
And so we are left with two major interests who would benefit from the publishing of this data. The media and competition.
The media, as it always does, would data mine the data and draw wacky and wild conclusions appealing to the general public using a heavily charged emotional rhetoric. This would not only damage the reputation of pharmaceutical companies, companies which provide life-saving medicines, but also scare the general public. Take the example of vaccines causing autism. How many innocent people were left without vaccines and at risk of illness and death after false information or poorly grounded information was shown to them by the media?
In a utopian society, the greater good would be chased by everyone. There would be no individual profit driven companies striving to provide medicine, but rather one single, all-inclusive branch of government providing research and funding drug development.
This is however not the reality we live in. To suggest that in this day and age a 100% state or 100% free market solution to health care and medicine in any country would be ludicrous. The best systems in the world are a blend of both a heavily regulated private sector and a supported and well funded public sector.
When you publish all the data in real time throughout the development of a new drug you make this information readily accessible to competition. This absolutely squashes the incentive for the majority private funded, 70% in America, clinical trial industry to keep producing and running clinical trials.
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