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I'm sure you'll find this hard to believe, I did at first, but there is one very simple answer: the data doesn't exist anymore. Yes, they just threw it out.

I, for one, would find this very difficult to believe (perhaps you have specific examples???). Coca Cola and other companies have records going back to their origional recipes. Tobacco companies, who had, and continue to have a large amount of dollars on the line, retained records of research they did many years ago, even to their own detriment.

I just don't believe that a company would throw away the records on projects that cost them millions of dollars. Certainly they would have records going back at least the last 15-20 years, which would probably be the most valuable and most easily interpreted data.

Research scientists are usually very methodical people. Even if company records don't exist, the memories and personal records of those that have worked in the field for many years would be an invaluable resource. These people are probably still employed by the major pharmas.

That's just my 2 cents.

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