Select Committee publishes transcript of 3rd evidence session

The House of Commons Science & Technology Select Committee has published the initial transcript of the oral evidence session held earlier this month, as part of its ongoing inquiry into clinical trials, specifically their facilitation and issues around transparency.

Giving evidence at the session were:

  • Simon Denegri, NIHR National Director for Public Participation and Engagement in Research and Chair, INVOLVE
  • Professor Karol Sikora, Medical Director of Cancer Partners UK and Dean, University of Buckingham Medical School
  • Tracey Brown, Managing Director, Sense About Science
  • Dr Helen Jamison, Deputy Director, Science Media Centre
  • Bill Davidson, Acting Deputy Director and Head of Research Standards and Support, Department of Health
  • Peter Knight, Deputy Director, Head of Research Information and Intelligence, Department of Health
  • Dr Janet Wisely, Chief Executive, Health Research Authority
  • Sir Kent Woods, Chief Executive, Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority

Among the key comments included in the evidence are:

  • “… for clinical trial results, our view has generally been that there is very little scope for commercial confidentiality. It tends to be more in the pre-clinical, the laboratory and perhaps the synthesis area-the manufacturing side-where commercially confidential information is contained; but our stance over the years, as we have gone further into this, has been to push back further and further, to ask why, specifically, should specific elements of clinical trial data be considered commercially in confidence.” (Sir Kent Woods)
  • “Where we put a cut-off [for making clinical trial data available] will probably end up being rather arbitrary, but the rump of currently prescribed medicines were authorised in the time since 1990; obviously, predating all the current discussion that is going on in Europe. It would make sense therefore to have that.” (Tracey Brown)
  • What we do need to do, and have the opportunity to do, is to produce a much stronger overall commitment to patients going into research… which stretches from having good information to a clear consent process, to being able to find out about the results of a trial, and to being thanked as a basic courtesy when it is finished, because that can only encourage their future participation and encourage them to talk to others who will then participate as well.” (Simon Denegri)