UK parliamentary committee criticises past efforts on transparency

The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has described the current lack of transparency of many clinical trials as “unacceptable”, adding that it has not been impressed with Government efforts to tackle the problem to date. The committee has taken written and oral evidence over the past 9 months, and has recently published its report.

Committee Chair Andrew Miller MP said: “We consider that all trials conducted on NHS treatments—and all other trials receiving public funding—should be prospectively registered and their results published in a scientific journal. While the focus should be on implementing this change for future trials, the Government must also do what it can to ensure that historic trials are registered and published, particularly where they have been publically funded.” The Committee also asked the Government to take steps to facilitate greater sharing of the raw data generated during a trial.

The Report also drew attention to the recent fall in the number of trials taking place in the UK, stating that the UK was a “particularly challenging” place in which to conduct a trial. It found that the need for multiple governance approvals from participating NHS organisations remained the biggest barrier to setting up a UK trial, but that lack of public awareness was also a key issue.

The Report called on the Government to take its recommendations into account in ongoing discussions regarding the revision of European clinical trials legislation and in its response to the European Medicines Agency’s consultation on the release of clinical trial data, which closes at the end of this month.