All trials registered, all results reported, a new campaign which the MRC is supporting alongside other research organisations, calls for the results of all clinical trials to be made public. Sir Iain Chalmers, Coordinator of the James Lind Initiative, says that longstanding biased under-reporting of clinical research must stop.
Successful conduct of clinical trials depends on many factors, but these studies are impossible unless patients agree to participate in them. For many patients the principal motivation for participating in clinical trials is the hope that they may receive better care, and perhaps more effective treatment.
All participants in clinical trials, however, believe that their involvement will help to increase knowledge about the effects of treatments. They expect that people with health problems like theirs – and perhaps they themselves – will be able to make better informed treatment decisions in future as a result of their contributions to knowledge.
How come, then, that the research community, including research funders and regulators, have acquiesced for decades in the nonpublication of around 50 per cent of all clinical trials? Can this be characterised as anything other than a gross betrayal of the trust in researchers which motivated volunteers to participate in clinical trials in the first place? How many of them would have agreed to participate if researchers had told them “If the results of this trial don’t serve our academic or commercial interests we won’t make them public”? Read more