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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Grantees, Reveal Thy Findings: A Push By Funders for Transparency in Medical Research – Inside Philanthropy (Till Bruckner | July 2017)

 


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In an effort to combat research waste and speed up the discovery of new drugs, medical research funders have pledged to cut off funding to grantees who fail to meet basic transparency standards. To date, over a dozen funders, including heavy hitters like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.K.’s Wellcome Trust, have signed a joint statement demanding that their grantees publicly disclose the results of all clinical trials within 12 months.

We thought this a persuasive piece and a message worth heeding (and repeating). Often it is the sponsors of clinical trials who are blamed for the delayed release of research outputs so this push is welcome and very much in the public interest.

“Research funders are making a strong statement that there will be no more excuses on why some clinical trials remain unreported long after they have completed,” commented Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general for Health Systems and Innovation at the World Health Organization (WHO), whose standards the statement is based on.
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Clinical trials conducted in human patients are the keystone of modern medicine. Typically, a clinical trial examines whether a new drug, medical device or procedure is safe and effective at improving patient health. Every year, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, foundations and nonprofits pour billions of dollars into trials in the hope of discovering new vaccines, treatments and cures. However, around half of all clinical trials never report their results, and many others are badly reported, making no contribution to medical progress. Scientists have warned that as a result, a mind-boggling $170 billion in medical research funding is being wasted every year.
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