A short article in the January, 2017 Scientific American indicates that “Researchers don’t always share the whole picture when it comes to the safety of drugs and other medical treatments.”
It goes on to say that “Approximately half of studies published on new medical treatments leave out at least some of the adverse effects they uncovered.”
Starting now, U.S. investigators conducting clinical trials will have to make all their findings publicly available, according to a new rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Refer to the Trials Tracker here, to see who isn’t reporting all their clinical trial data.
The Trials Tracker currently shows the top 290 trial sponsors who have missing clinical trial data. Since 2006, 45% of all known trials are missing published data. Trials with negative results are twice as likely to remain unreported as those with positive results.
For example, in Missouri the Washington University School of Medicine has completed 141 trials of which 67 are missing published results; the University of Missouri-Columbia completed 31 trials of which 16 are missing results. Of the pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer has run 471 trials of which 62 are missing results; AstraZeneca completed 408 with 68 missing; Eli Lilly and Company ran 292 with 15 missing; Novartis Pharmaceuticals ran 534 with 201 missing; GlaxoSmithKline ran 809 with 183 missing; Bayer ran 267 with 106 missing; Takeda ran 211 with 72 missing.
The high level data does not show the drug or device under investigation, and drilling down to the base data does not show the class or type of drug. But as an example, we searched for Ritalin (methylphenidate) and found four completed clinical trials with no published results. We can only assume the results were negative.