Meaningful Transparency Commitments: the WHO Joint Statement from Trial Funders

July 26th, 2017 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, publication bias | No Comments »

By now I hope you all know about the ongoing global scandal of clinical trial results being left unpublished, and of course our AllTrials campaign. Doctors, researchers, and patients cannot make truly informed choices about which treatments work best if they don’t have access to all the trial results. Earlier this year, I helped out with a World Health Organisation project to get non-industry clinical trial funders signed up to making better policies on transparency. This BMJ editorial (sorry, I’m late posting it, published last month!) describes the new commitments, and why this commitment is more convincing than previous vaguer statements. 

“It costs nothing for an organisation to issue vague statements in favour of transparency and integrity. This time, a World Health Organization joint statement on clinical trials transparency, signed by 15 major non-industry research funders (see box), gives unusual grounds for optimism. Where previous documents have been shapeless, this one makes clear commitments to transparency, with timelines; it promises unambiguous outcomes where compliance can be easily assessed; it gives technical details around implementation; and crucially it includes a commitment for open self-auditing, so progress can be monitored.”

More in my editorial here: and if you’re sharing, that link is a toll-free link that gets through the paywall, so make sure you do use that one, or link here. Cheers, and onward!

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