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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

BU Study Finds Transparency Lacking in Clinical Trials

A significant percentage of completed drug clinical trials, especially those funded by industry, are not disclosed to the public for years after being completed – a trend that “threatens the validity of the clinical research literature in the U.S.,” according to a study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that close to 30 percent of 400 randomly selected clinical trials completed in 2008 had not resulted, four years later, in either publication in a journal or the posting of results to the ClinicalTrials.gov (CTG) web site. Studies that were funded solely by industry, or that involved smaller sample sizes, were less likely to be published, the research shows.

Study co-author Dr. Christopher Gill, director of BUSPH’s Pharmaceuticals Program and an associate professor of global health, said the review raises ethical, as well as scientific, problems.

“Individuals who volunteer for clinical trials often do so out of a sense of altruism,” said Dr. Gill, a researcher with BU’s Center for Global Health and Development. ”I can imagine that many would be dismayed to learn that the results of a study that they participated in, that they took physical risks for, might never generate results known beyond the company that sponsored the trial.”

To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2014/07/15/transparency-lacking-in-clinical-trials-bu-study-finds/