Nearly Half of All Clinical Trial Results Still Aren’t Being Published

Approximately 50% of all trials by universities, pharmaceutical companies and other research sponsors are being left unpublished. This concerning data is courtesy of TrialsTracker, which monitors


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The world’s biggest clinical trial register, determines whether or not research has been published two years on from the stated end date of each study. The tracker showed that out of 25,927 eligible trials carried out between the beginning of 2006 and the end of 2014, 45% had no results published.

The TrailsTracker was developed to encourage accountability and clinical trial transparency. By identifying those companies and universities that have a high number of trials with undisclosed results, the hope is to get them to publish their results so that the information can be read by researchers, doctors and patients.

There are many reasons why the pharma industry may have such a low percentage of clinical results published. If a company is struggling to complete a trial or manage it with the right personnel, clinical trial specialist companies such as can provide assistance. Employing professional clinical trial services will ensure that a study is carried out by qualified and experienced staff from the medical and diagnostic device, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.

Withholding Clinical Trial Results

Clinical trial results are often withheld when the results are found to be disappointing. Unfortunately, this skews the evidence base and can raise doubts regarding the safety of drugs that are already on the market.

The data from the TrailsTracker showed that pharma company Shire had a perfect record of publishing all results for the 96 studies it has run. At the other end of the spectrum is Ranbaxy, which has not published a single result over the nine years running up to 2014, even though it carried out 35 trials.

The drug industry list of sponsors that rank in the top five for the highest number of missing clinical trial results is led by Sanofi, followed by Novartis and with GSK also included in the top five. These multi-billion-pound drug companies are not being as transparent as the European Medicines Agency would like or expect. When it comes to clinical trials, withholding information from doctors and patients could be seen as unethical and, in a worse-case scenario, could even harm patients.