Why this matters

In medicine we use the results of clinical trials to make informed treatments about which treatments work best. But there is a problem: the results of clinical trials are being routinely and legally withheld from doctors, researchers, and patients. This is a longstanding problem in medicine, which we have known about since at least the 1980s; and yet it is still ongoing. Furthermore it is not just a problem for industry-sponsored trials: the best currently available evidence shows that trials funded by governments and charities are also routinely left unpublished.

The AllTrials.net campaign calls for all clinical trials to be registered, their results reported, and Clinical Study Reports shared where these have been produced. This campaign has now been joined by more than 700 organisations, representing more than 600 million people worldwide. Supporters include professional bodies such as the American Medical Association; commercial organisations such as GSK; research funders such as MRC and Wellcome; regulators such as the Health Research Authority; patient groups such as the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society; government cost-effectiveness agencies such as NICE; and many more. You can see a full list here.

We have conducted this audit in order to shed light on the very wide variation in commitments made by companies. We have ranked all the world’s major drug companies, and a selection of smaller firms, by the commitments they make to clinical trials transparency. We hope that by auditing companies, we will help them to learn from each other, and that the companies with the poorest commitments will look to those who are doing better. Next, we will be ranking the policies of non-industry trial funders.

You can keep up with the latest developments on unpublished trials, and the campaign to fix this problem, at the AllTrials news pages.