It’s time all clinical trial results are reported.
Patients, researchers, pharmacists, doctors and regulators everywhere will benefit from publication of clinical trial results. Wherever you are in the world please sign the petition:
Thousands of clinical trials have not reported their results; some have not even been registered.
Information on what was done and what was found in these trials could be lost forever to doctors and researchers, leading to bad treatment decisions, missed opportunities for good medicine, and trials being repeated.
All trials past and present should be registered, and the full methods and the results reported.
We call on governments, regulators and research bodies to implement measures to achieve this.
Why the Society decided to sign the petition and wholeheartedly encourages everyone to sign in, too?
Imagine you make an experiment. You then publish only 25% of your results and drop the majority that doesn’t support your vision of what the result should be. In that case, you’d be committing a serious research misconduct, as you can’t cherry-pick the results you want to publish, and throw away the rest.
This is exactly what’s happening with human trials and it’s perfectly legal. We can’t have only “positive” results. We need ALL the information to work out whether the drug is good or bad for you, whether the treatment will do more harm than good or whether a given dosage is beneficial in the long run.
If you conduct a drug trial and find that there is a huge harm to the participants, you will surely stop it. However, if no one knows that you ever had done it in the first place, people will still want to test it, design fresh trials, harm more patients and expose more and more participants to unnecessary risk.
By publishing all trials, we will know what worked for other scientists and what didn’t, so that we don’t repeat others’ mistakes.
Doctors can spend lots of money on prescribing drugs that aren’t the best option for the patient, that could be more harmful than the alternative and that could actually bring more harm than good. It may be because the “bad” part of that drug research is not published, and we work on the assumption that only “good” trials are out there. Both doctors and patients need the full spectrum of all trials to make informed decisions.
You must declare what you want to find, how you want to measure it and how you are going to analyse your results. Everything can be “statistically significant” if you try hard enough (just try every Excel function). By publishing all primary research, the scientific community will be able to look into the data, pull it apart, examine the methods and criticise the authors’ conclusion. Every scientific Q&A session is a bloody battle, but we do it for a reason. It’s nothing personal. We just want to make sure that there are no errors in reasoning, stats and maths, etc. We want to assess the impact of a study, talk about what we need to investigate in more detail and how to answer the outstanding questions.
We can’t do that when thousands of research papers are being buried and concealed from the scientific community.
All the scientific endeavour is about making things better, improving clinical practice, enhancing our understanding of concepts and working out the best kind of drug, the best dosage, the best method of treatment or how to minimise the side effects of the triage. We do all that by scanning hundreds of thousands of datasets, analysing years of measurement, comparing dozens of studies and analyses, with some of the smartest people on Earth putting all their cognitive abilities to answer a basic question. “Is this right for you?”
We must have access to the full spectrum of datasets: both positive and negative, all trials on human subjects and all primary research data to make informed decisions.
Remember: It’s our common cause. It affects us all. We must stand together to fix one of the worst problems of modern medicine.