Last week, the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee convened an inquiry following-up their previous clinical trials transparency efforts. The Select Committee has been very active in the trials transparency space over the past two years. Earlier this year they sent letters to every public university and NHS trust in the UK that sponsors clinical trials on the EU register. These letters reminded sponsors of their trial reporting responsibilities and provided them with reporting performance figures based on data from our EU TrialsTracker.

As part of the AllTrials campaign, we helped prepare written evidence following-up on the performance of all UK universities and trusts as of October 2019 on the EU TrialsTracker. Further oral evidence was provided by witnesses including:

  • Dr. Sile Lane of AllTrials;

  • Dr. Fiona Godley, Editor and Chief of the BMJ;

  • Juliet Tizzard and Prof. Sir Terence Stephenson of the Health Research Authority (HRA);

  • Dr. Martin O’Kane, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA); and

  • Four representatives from UK institutions with high and low trials reporting rates on the EU TrialsTracker (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust, St George’s University London and NHS Foundation Trust, and Queen Mary University of London/Barts Health NHS Trust)

The session offered interesting discussion reiterating many of the barriers and best practices we’ve heard from sponsors since we launched the EU TrialsTracker. We also listened with interest to the testimony from the HRA and MHRA on their ongoing trials transparency efforts and Brexit planning. The MHRA backlog of data submission to the EUCTR (which we wrote about earlier this year) was discussed at length and the HRA presented some early data from their recent transparency consultation. Of note, a large number of respondents were in favour of using past trial reporting performance in ethics committee decisions for new trials. We are pleased to see the committee following up this issue and substantial reporting progress for a number of UK universities and NHS trusts. It is clear, however, that there is still much work to be done.

You can watch the whole session here and read all the evidence, including responses from universities and trusts to the committee here. Our EU TrialsTracker updates each month to provide to help sponsors meet their ethical and legal trial reporting obligations. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns you can reach us at ebmdatalab@phc.ox.ac.uk.