I’m on the One Show talking about missing trials tonight

March 18th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign, publication bias | 2 Comments »

I made a film for The One Show on BBC1, which goes out tonight. It’s about “publication bias“: the problem of clinical trial results being withheld from doctors and patients. (I also get to go into an awesome underground bunker where documents are stored…).

You can watch it here:


There is currently a Science and Technology Select Committee hearing on this issue in parliament, and it is very important that you sign up to the AllTrials campaign, to ensure that it stays firmly on the agenda for government, industry, and professional bodies. If you’ve already signed, make the person next to you sign, send an email to a friend, or contact your professional body / patient group and ask them to sign. 

We have 40,000 signatories already, and support from over 200 organisations, including more than a hundred patient groups, NICE, academic funders such as the MRC and the Wellcome Trust, Royal Colleges, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the British Pharmacological Society, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, and GSK, the biggest drug company in the UK, to name but a few.


The best currently available evidence estimates that around half of the trials for the treatments we use right now haven’t been published, and this has never been adequately addressed by legislation or codes of conduct. If you would like to read more about the problem, I strongly recommend our briefing note at AllTrials.net which you can read here (or read the long story in Bad Pharma, the book that triggered this activity, here).

The radical position is now not supporting our campaign, which is as it should be: doctors and patients need all the results of all the clinical trials on all the medicines we use today, in order to make informed decisions about which is best. Future generations will look back with horror and amazement at the way we’ve tolerated missing trial results, in the same way that we look back on mediaeval doctors bloodletting.

Please sign up:



If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2 Responses

  1. 09philj said,

    March 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Good to see you getting a slot on such a high profile slot.I hope people take note of what you say. Meanwhile, are you also getting sick of the fiasco that is the redistribution children’s heart surgery?

  2. David2013 said,

    April 21, 2013 at 4:40 am

    I’d like to suggest a partial solution to the problem Ben is pointing out. Drug firms that defraud consumers by biasing trials, bribing doctors…should have a higher probability of being prosecuted. This has to affect stock prices. Are there variables that would predict prosecution,e.g., the amount of money spent on bribing researchers and doctors? If so, such information could be incorporated into the stock price by short sellers. Then, the financial markets could be leveraged to correct the problems Ben is pointing out. Should there be a negative correlation between the quality of the drug and the amount spent on corrupting doctors and institutions? If so, can such expenditures be used to predict the probability of innovation by competitors? My question is, how can financial markets be used to solve these incentive problems?