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Drug Industry Document Archive

What is the Drug Industry Document Archive (DIDA)?

It is a publically accessible web site - http://dida.library.ucsf.edu - hosted by the University of California, San Francisco Library and Center for Knowledge Management that contains previously secret documents from major drug companies such as Merck, Pfizer and Abbott Labs.  The documents are fully searchable and are accompanied by indexing information (metadata).

What's actually in DIDA?

Right now it contains about 2,500

  • internal pharmaceutical industry documents (memos, letters, reports, scientific research, etc.)
  • correspondence between drug companies and physicians, researchers, continuing medical education companies, PR firms and universities
  • regulatory and legal documents, depositions and expert reports

What issues do the documents cover?

They provide evidence about pricing decisions, clinical trial design and dissemination of results, authorship of drug company sponsored research, mechanisms for off-label marketing, continuing medical education strategies, the relationship between academia and drug manufacturers, monitoring of federal grant recipients' conflicts of interest and many other issues.

Who can use DIDA?

Anyone with access to the Internet can use it.  Its users are researchers from a variety of academic disciplines, journalists, attorneys, public policy makers, consumer advocates and the general public.

From where do the documents come?

The documents come from lawyers representing people who file law suits against drug companies and Congressional committees investigating the pharmaceutical industry.

How did DIDA get started?

As expert witnesses for a whistle-blower lawsuit about the off-label marketing of neurontin two UCSF physician researchers, Seth Landefeld and Michael Steinman, reviewed many internal corporate documents obtained from Parke-Davis.  They knew how valuable UCSF's Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu) was for tobacco control researchers and advocates and wanted to set up a comparable digital library about the pharmaceutical industry.  In 2005, with a gift from attorney Thomas Greene, who represented the plaintiff in the case, and the donation of documents produced for it, DIDA was created.

What are our plans for DIDA?

We plan to add the hundreds of thousands documents which are being produced in litigation against the pharmaceutical industry.  A larger corpus of documents from numerous companies will allow researchers to investigate more fully pharma industry practices that negatively affect public health.  We also plan to integrate state-of-the-art search and retrieval mechanisms into the web site so researchers can obtain the evidence they need to test their hypotheses.  Both of these goals are contingent upon obtaining adequate funding.

For more information contact Kim Klausner, (415) 514-0507, kim.klausner@ucsf.edu.

 

Selected Articles Based upon Documents in DIDA

Fauber, John, and Meg Kissinger. "UW Linked to Ghostwriting." Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinal.  August 15, 2009, http://www.jsonline.com/features/health/53315032.html.

Hundley, Kris. "When Stories Extol Drugs, Maker may be Behind it." St. Petersburg Times. September 20, 2009, http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/when-stories-extol-drugs-maker-may-be-behind-it/1037331#comments.

Laidlaw, Stuart. "Canadian Named in HRT Scandal." Toronto Star. August 22, 2009,
http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/article/684982

---. "Closer Ties Emerge in HRT Scandal." TheStar.com. August 26, 2009, http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/686501

Singer, Natasha and Duff Wilson. "Medical Editors Push for Crackdown on Ghostwriting" The New York Times. September 17, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/18/business/18ghost.html?_r=2&ref=business

Singer, Natasha. "Ghostwriters Paid by Wyeth Aided its Drugs." The New York Times. August 5, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/05/health/research/05ghost.html?scp=3&sq=&st=nyt.

 

Selected Blogs Using Documents in DIDA

Carlat, Daniel. The Carlat Psychiatry Blog. "Ghostwriting Stays in the Spotlight" http://carlatpsychiatry.blogspot.com/2009/08/ghostwriting-stays-in-spotlight.html.

---. "Ghostwriting for Premarin: Steroids on Steroids" August 5, 2009. http://carlatpsychiatry.blogspot.com/2009/08/ghostwriting-for-premarin-steroids-on.html

Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look. "Lend Me Your Name" September 21, 2009. http://clinpsyc.blogspot.com/2009/09/lend-me-your-name.html.

Fiore, Kristina. MedPage Today. "PRC Journals Aided in Marketing" September 11, 2009

http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/PRC/15928

Heisel, William. Antidote: New Ways to Investigate Untold Health Stories. "Start Naming Names in the Pharma Ghostwriting Scandal" http://www.reportingonhealth.org/blogs/start-naming-names-pharma-ghostwriting-scandal