Health Select Committee calls for drug trial transparency

Three_wise_monkeys_figure The House of Commons Health Select Committee has called for the publication of all drug trial data to be mandatory.

In a report on the role of NICE, the MPs recommended that pharmaceutical companies should have a “duty of candour” regarding clinical trial results.

David Haslam, who will become NICE’s Chairman in April, told the Committee that it was “impossible to come up with any good argument that all data should not be released.”

The report, triggered by ongoing controversy about Roche’s non-disclosure of clinical trial data regarding its antiviral Tamiflu, said the decision to withhold such data should be considered “neither legal nor ethical”.

All results from trials of licensed drugs should be publicly accessible, the Committee stated, arguing that the selective concealment of trial data undermined the role of NICE.

“This situation cannot be allowed to continue,” said Stephen Dorrell, the Chairman of the Health Select Committee.

In order to enforce this greater transparency, the Committee said, the pharmaceutical industry should introduce a new code of practice.

In addition, the General Medical Council should warn doctors that failure to comply with regulations on the conduct of drug trials could lead to their fitness to practise being legally challenged.