Failure to publish research kills patients

August 19, 2004

Failing to disclose the results of clinical trials kills patients and wastes money, and government regulation is needed to put a stop to it, argues Sir Iain Chalmers in a letter to this week's BMJ.

In 1996, Schering Healthcare published details of its ongoing clinical trials. Two years later GlaxoWellcome announced its decision to register and seek to report all its clinical trials.

But only now, and in response to accusations of biased under-reporting of research, has GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that it intends to put in place some of the policies set out seven years ago by GlaxoWellcome.

It would be churlish not to welcome this, says the author. But the past record of the pharmaceutical industry, and the reactions of some other companies to GSK's announcement, prompt deep scepticism that the industry will ever voluntarily implement ethical trial registration and publication policies, he concludes.
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BMJ

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