We’re looking closely at how clinical trials are conducted and reported, to ensure health care providers and patients have the most complete and accurate view of the evidence impacting their health.
The results of clinical trials are used by doctors, researchers and patients to make informed choices about treatments. Sadly, the results of clinical trials are commonly left unreported, despite several decades of guidelines, position statements, policies and even legislation. There is an active global campaign around this issue at AllTrials.net.
The TrialsTracker Project brings together a range of audits and trackers all monitoring the trial reporting performance and policies of pharmaceutical companies, universities, funders, sponsors, and other organisations. These include:
Trials need to be reported correctly: it’s important that researchers report the measurements they said they would.
Before a clinical trial starts, researchers are required to specify exactly what measurements they’re planning to take, in a ‘trial protocol’ or ‘registry entry’.
When the trial has finished, the researchers publish their measurements. Sometimes they don’t publish the measurements they said they would. This can lead to a biased and exaggerated picture of the benefits – and risks – of a treatment. It’s called ‘outcome switching’, and both trialists and journal editors have committed to address it, through guidelines like CONSORT.
With COMPare Trials, we’re holding researchers and journals accountable. Initially we’re focusing on outcome switching: but this is just the beginning.