* Pledge to provide access to patent-level data from trials
* Independent panel to assess requests for data
* Move follows record fraud fine in United States
* GSK also to make TB compound library freely available
(Adds details on timing, independent panel, reaction fromcritics)
By Ben Hirschler
LONDON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline ,criticised in the past for keeping important information aboutits medicines to itself, is to lift the lid on more of its drugsecrets.
Three months after GSK was fined $3 billion for fraud in theUnited States, where prosecutors accused it of concealing safetyissues, chief executive Andrew Witty said on Thursday detaileddata from its clinical trials would be made available to otherresearchers. That would include anonymised patient-level resultsthat sit behind clinical trials of approved and failed drugs.
Britain's biggest drugmaker will set up an independent panelof experts to review requests submitted by researchers, whichwill then be vetted for scientific merit, a company spokesmansaid. The new system will start at the beginning of next year.
The move is a first for a major pharmaceutical company.
In July, GSK reached a record $3-billion settlement with theU.S. government, pleading guilty to charges that it had providedmisleading information on some drugs, including antidepressantPaxil and diabetes pill Avandia.
"By being more open with our clinical trial data, we alsohope to help further scientific understanding," Witty said in astatement.
Other companies have faced similar charges in the UnitedStates and Witty's decision to expose his company to greaterscrutiny may push rivals to follow suit.
The industry is, in any case, under pressure from regulatorsto open up. The European Medicines Agency recently decided tomake its own data vaults containing drug company trial resultsavailable for systematic scrutiny.
Critics of the drug industry, including the respectedCochrane Collaboration, which carries out systematic healthcarereviews, have long argued that researchers need access to fulldata from clinical trials.
Such information is a treasure trove for scientists wantingto test drug company claims and expose product deficiencies.
The industry's failure to provide full access to such datawas blasted in a recent book which received widespread publicattention in Britain; "Patients are harmed when data iswithheld," Ben Goldacre, author of "Bad Pharma", told Reuters.
"It is great that GSK has made further promises of greatertransparency, but promises are not enough, because they havebeen broken in the past. We will only see if this promise isdifferent in the years to come."
Witty reaffirmed a commitment to seek publication of resultsof all clinical trials evaluating its medicines - regardless ofwhether the results were positive or negative for the company -in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
He also said he would make GSK's library of compounds withpotential activity against tuberculosis (TB) freely available tooutside research groups, matching a similar move in 2009 to putmalaria compounds in the public domain.
The GSK boss will set out details of the new opennessstrategy at a meeting on Thursday in London, hosted by theWellcome Trust medical charity.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Dan Lalor and AlastairMacdonald)
Keywords: GLAXOSMITHKLINE DATA/