UK plans for more transparent clinical trials

medical researchThe UK’s Health Research Authority has today announced new plans it will take to improve transparency in clinical research.

The plans are outlined comprehensively in a May 2013 report, but they generally boil down to the following:

  • Requiring the registration of clinical trials as a formal condition of Research Ethics Committee (REC) approval from September 2013
  • Working with partners to understand what is meant by ‘publication’ and ensuring that where research is undertaken, it is subsequently published according to plans agreed with the REC at approval
  • Auditing completed studies to more fully understand publication rates in the UK
  • Looking for more ways to monitor compliance to publish within the agreed conditions of REC approval
  • Exploring means by which researchers, sponsors and funders will demonstrate good conduct

In its May report, the HRA says it also wants to examine how to promote greater access to tissue at the end of a research study, and access to tissue held in approved tissue banks. An HRA spokesperson told me that there are no immediate plans in this regard, but that the authority intends to update people on progress “in a couple of months”.


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