Some of the world’s largest research funders and NGOs today agreed to adopt the WHO’s strong standards on clinical trial transparency. This means all clinical trials they fund or support will be registered and the results reported.
In a joint statement, nine major funders including Médecins Sans Frontières, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Norwegian Research Council, the UK Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust committed to develop and implement policies that require all trials they fund, co-fund, sponsor or support to be registered in a publicly-available register. They also agreed that all trial results would be disclosed within specified timeframes on the register or by publication in a scientific journal.
Around half of clinical trials carried out around the world have gone unreported, according to several studies, often because the results are negative. These unreported trial results leave an incomplete and potentially misleading picture of the risks and benefits of vaccines, drugs and medical devices, and can lead to use of sub-optimal or even harmful products.
“Research funders are making a strong statement that there will be no more excuses on why some clinical trials remain unreported long after they have completed,” said Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation at WHO.