Iain Chalmers reiterates need for all clinical trial results to be made public

Writing a guest blog for the Medical Research Council (MRC), Sir Iain Chalmers looks back on over 20 years of research and campaigning on the under-reporting of clinical trial results. He concludes that, “if action is not taken urgently by research funders and regulators, information on what was done and what was found in trials could be lost forever, leading to bad treatment decisions, unnecessary repetition of trials, and missed opportunities for good medical practice.”

He highlights the role played by Dr Ben Goldacre (who wrote “Bad Pharma” giving these issues greater public visibility) and the AllTrials campaign by Sense About Science, which has currently been signed by nearly 45,000 individuals and organisations.

He highlights the fact that “only one medical professional organisation — the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine — has so far declared non-publication to be unethical; the position of others remains unstated or ambiguous” whereas the MRC has strongly supported this position for many years, and made its position even more explicit at the end of 2012.