The BMA is pleased to sign the AllTrials petition. Doctors need accurate and unbiased information on the efficacy and safety of different treatments to help them prescribe properly, safely and most effectively for their patients. If data from clinical trials are withheld or otherwise not available, doctors cannot be sure of the risks and benefits of using particular drugs thus risking avoidable harm to patients and wasting scarce NHS resources.
Under-reporting betrays the altruism of research subjects, who participate in clinical trials in the expectation that the risks they undertake will help to advance medical science and benefit society. Where results go unreported there is a risk that research will be repeated unnecessarily, wasting the resources of research funders, many of which are charities, and the time and efforts of researchers and volunteers. Access to full clinical trial information also allows researchers to identify and investigate specific questions of importance and to improve study designs to achieve better results, which in turn benefits patients.
Medical and other health care research is essential for the development of the knowledge base and the treatment options needed to provide optimal care for all patients. The UK has excelled in this work and we want it to continue but this means that we need patients and the public to be confident of the benefits of participating in clinical research and must be open with the results from trials that they volunteer to participate in. If some data continue to be withheld it may become more difficult to recruit the volunteers we need for such essential research in the future.