My blog posted earlier today about the media coverage on the use of zoledronic acid (Zometa) as part of a treatment program to prevent breast cancer recurrence after primary treatment has garnered a bit of interest from some of my colleagues and friends.
So, in the interest of being fair, I want to emphasize that some of the reports (and there may be others; I don't have the time right now to do a comprehensive analysis) did at least acknowledge the issue, and some gave insights to suggest that the lead investigators reporting on the two studies had some different interpretations based on their respective studies.
Here are links to a sample of reports that meet the test of at least acknowledging there is an issue about the conflicting conclusions of these two studies:
And, a fellow blogger did an exceptionally good job of detailing the information about the two trials on the Pharma Strategy Blog.
So, as I finish my day I feel a bit better than I did when I started it. But the problem remains: who is going to take on the responsibility to see that the proper information is presented to the public so they are accurately informed? Conference organizers love the attention of the media, but they have a responsibility to be certain that all of the information is offered in a complete and balanced manner with transparency to all. If you are going to have a press conference, provide video on a website to others can have access to the information. Make the abstracts publicly available, as well as the comments of anyone who is going to formally present a discussion on the impact of the particular study.
This is not a new problem, and certainly not limited to this one situation. But I must say that I am seeing more and more of this happening in the name of science and it has me very concerned.