Experts have called for an end to “incomplete data disclosure” and more robust regulation of information in clinical trials.
The British Medical Journal website bmj.com has released various papers investigating the issues of unpublished data to support their argument.
Dr Richard Lehman, of Oxford University, and clinical epidemiology editor of the BMJ, Dr Elizabeth Loder, wrote in an editorial: “Clinical medicine involves making decisions under uncertainty.
“Clinical research aims to reduce this uncertainty, usually by performing experiments on groups of people who consent to run the risks of such trials in the belief that the resulting knowledge will benefit others.”
However, in an editorial, they argued that a “culture of haphazard publication” meant that decisions are not made using the best evidence.
As such, more robust regulation was needed, as was full access to raw trial information.
Dr Lehman and Dr Loder said: “Most clinicians assume that the complex regulatory systems that govern human research ensure that this knowledge is relevant, reliable and properly disseminated.
“It generally comes as a shock to clinicians, and certainly to the public, to learn that this is far from the case.”