What do clinical trial participants think of unreported clinical trials?

What do clinical trial participants think of unreported clinical trials?

The results of many clinical trials are not publicly reported, or reported only after a long delay. Why? Dr. Richard Morrow explored the views of trial participants, scientists, and administrators in a study performed for his PhD thesis as a UBC graduate student working with the Therapeutics Initiative and colleagues at UBC, University of Victoria, University of Alberta, and the University of Sydney.

Findings from this study relating to public reporting of clinical trials as an ethical responsibility to participants were just published in BMJ Open. The article is available here: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/13/3/e068221.full

Dr. Morrow interviewed clinical trial participants, trial investigators, a clinical research coordinator, research administrators, and research ethics board members. Both trial participants and investigators suggested that clinical trials involved “reciprocity.” Participants felt that they contributed their time and exposed themselves to risk, with the expectation that clinical trials would advance medical knowledge. Trial investigators also suggested that reporting trial findings is an important part of respecting the contributions of trial participants, and honouring informed consent.

Dr. Morrow’s report includes a thorough referenced discussion of what is known about publication failure for completed clinical trials, and the policy implications if we want to see greater research transparency and less wasted research effort and funding.

This article was one part of Dr. Morrow’s larger study of clinical trial reporting. Information about the full study, including findings on industry influence and other factors relating to whether clinical trials are reported, is available here: https://insidetrialsstudy.ca/

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