Another significant advancement in clinical trial transparency was announced on May 18. In a joint statement released on the World Health Organization (WHO) website, 12 of the world’s largest medical research funding agencies and international organizations pledged to implement policies within 12 months that mandate the registration and public disclosure of results for all trials they fund, co-fund, sponsor, or support.
Among the signatories are the two largest private medical research funders in the world, the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
The announcement comes on the heels of the NIH Final Rule governing ClinicalTrials.gov disclosures, which went into effect in January, and underlines the commitment toward transparency of the international research community. Referencing the 2013 Declaration of Helsinki, the statement emphasizes ethical obligations facing all medical researchers to share information, regardless of the outcome.
This is welcome news, given recent estimates that one-third of clinical results are never disclosed. Sharing research results has obvious benefits to society, as reiterated by industry leaders again and again.
Many factors contribute to the overall inability to adhere to these commonsense obligations. One of the most significant challenges can be the tracking of studies across different products and company business units. Studies are conducted in different parts of the world, and for a variety of reasons are subject to different disclosure requirements.
This further highlights the need for advanced clinical trial disclosure management systems to track deadlines, flag critical missing information, and repurpose study data based on specific trial registry requirements.