Ex-Pfizer head criticizes Roche over negative bitopertin study results

Writing on the Forbes website, former Pfizer president John LaMattina criticized Roche for issuing a press release stating that its developmental drug bitopertin was no better than placebo in treating negative symptoms of schizophrenia in two phase III clinical trials, while four further clinical trials are still in progress. While he found the degree of transparency noteworthy, LaMattina is concerned that the announcement could have an influence on patients, particularly in a case like this, where the studies relate to measuring moods and emotions.

In the piece, he quotes Dr. Steven W. Ryder, former head of Clinical Development at Pfizer, who added “Bias influencing both arms may dampen, augment or leave unchanged the difference between trial arms. One thing for sure: Roche will likely have to perform an analysis of data gathered before and after the announcement.”