The Evidence Based Medicine Data Lab led by Ben Goldacre University of Oxford recently produce the results of a study of transparency rates of universities engaged in clinical research. The findings: UK academic medical centers follow clinical trial transparency requirements more than their counterparts on the continent. For what ever reason, Anglo Saxons are evidencing more published clinical trial results than continentals. Till Brucker of TranspariMED reports that top five universities for reporting included Dundee (97%), Oxford (96%), Queen Mary University of London (94%) and King’s College London (93%). For comparison if we move north into Norse country only 8% of clinical trial results were published in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Why are the UK universities publishing far more clinical trial results? We reviewed Mr. Bruckner’s website at TranspariMED and perhaps uncovered some critical factors. First, for whatever reason, the UK government is working more aggressively for a central and comprehensive national clinical trial monitoring system. Second, research funders are putting on the pressure for greater transparency. For example, Brucker reveals that Britain’s two public medical research funding bodies, the NIHR and the MRC, as well as the non-profit Wellcome Trust, in 2017 all signed the WHO Joint Statement on Public Disclosure of Results from Clinical Trials. Third, public pressure builds from a coalition of “health integrity” groups convened by TranspariMED that included organizations such as:
- Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM-UK)
- Transparency International Health
- HealthWatch UK
- JustTreatment (Patient-led group)
And finally, fourth Parliamentary pressure. Collective action has led to political pressure back on to the universities to take transparency seriously.