The BMJ publishes several papers today looking at the harm being done to research, patient care and the public interest by the incomplete disclosure or withholding of clinical trial data. Click here for the BMJ’s editorial written by Dr Richard Lehman from Oxford University and the journal’s clinical epidemiology editor Dr Elizabeth Loder. An example of the resulting coverage is here. Also here.
The BMJ points out the longevity of this issue – which is shameful in itself – and it’s worth re-reading one of the articles it cites, from 1990 and written by Sir Iain Chalmers.
The BMJ concludes its strongly worded editorial recommending a range of measures to remedy the situation by saying:
‘ These changes have been long called for and delay has already caused harm. The evidence we publish shows that the current situation is a disservice to research participants, patients, health systems, and the whole endeavour of clinical medicine.’
Yesterday – and completely coincidentally - I wrote about the need to strengthen the rights that ‘promote and protect’ the public interest when it comes to clinical research and made the ‘right to expect full disclosure’ the fifth of my suggested ‘Bill of Rights.’