The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has released a report in which it finds nearly half of clinical trials go unpublished. The report states that this failure to publish creates selection bias, with predominantly positive results making it to the public literature.
The responsible body for trials in the UK, The Health Research Authority (HRA), is tasked with increasing transparency and upping the proportion of published results.
According to a Parliamentary press release,
“The Committee also recommends that:
- The Government should ask the HRA to publish, by December 2019, a detailed strategy for achieving full clinical trials transparency, with a clear deadline and milestones for achieving this. The performance of the HRA should then be explicitly measured on this basis through its annual report.
- The HRA should be provided with funding to establish a national programme to audit clinical trials transparency, including the publication of a single official list of which UK trials have published results and those which are due to but have not.
- The HRA should introduce a system of sanctions to drive improvements in clinical trials transparency, such as withdrawing favourable ethical opinion or preventing further trials from taking place, and the Government should consult specifically on whether to provide the HRA with the statutory power to fine sponsors for non-compliance.”